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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Zephyrhills Man Sentenced To Five Years For Viewing Child Sexual Abuse Videos And Images Using The “Dark Web”

Tampa, Florida – United States District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Joseph Michael Griffin (30, Zephyrhills) to five years in federal prison for accessing child sexual abuse videos and images over the Internet using the “dark web.” He was also sentenced to a 20-year term of supervised release and ordered to register as a sex offender. Griffin pleaded guilty on September 28, 2017.      


According to court documents, FBI agents began an online undercover investigation to identify individuals who were using a particular website on the “dark web” to access and download images and videos depicting child pornography.  Further investigation revealed that Griffin had accessed child pornography on this website between August 2014 and March 2015. FBI agents executed a search warrant at Griffin’s residence and, during a subsequent interview, Griffin admitted to viewing child pornography. A forensic examination of his laptop computer revealed that it contained at least 45 images and 17 videos depicting children being sexually abused.


This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Peresie.


It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 24, 2018