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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pair Sentenced On Child Pornography Charges

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced that James Grimes, aged 29, of Columbus, Georgia was sentenced to serve 97 months in Federal prison for possession of child pornography.  He will also be required to register as a sex offender. The sentence was handed down on April 22, 2015, by the Honorable Clay D. Land, Chief U.S. District Court Judge, in Columbus, Georgia.

As part of an ongoing investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, a search warrant was executed at Mr. Grimes’ home on April 30, 2012.  During a voluntary, consensual conversation with agents, Mr. Grimes admitted to owning multiple computers and having “illegal stuff” on some of them.  He further admitted to accessing wireless modems around his neighborhood, downloading child pornography, and forwarding it to others.  At the time of the interview, Mr. Grimes was in possession of more than 600 pornographic images.

“The defendant’s use of unsecured wireless networks to try to hide his crimes did not deter HSI special agents from tracking him down, but it should serve as a reminder to businesses and residents with networks to make sure they are secured,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, acting special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “We have seen cases in the past in which law enforcement agencies served search warrants on residences whose only crime was to leave their network unsecured and exploited by child pornographers.”    

In a separate case, Kenneth Nichelson, aged 56, of Cataula, Georgia, was sentenced to a term of 180 months’ imprisonment by Judge Land on April 23, 2015.  Mr. Nichelson entered a plea of guilty to child pornography on December 14, 2014. He admitted that between June 2010 and March 2011, he purchased nine DVDs depicting child pornography from a company in Toronto, Canada.  When arrested on July 8, 2014, Mr. Nichelson was in possession of more than 10, but fewer than 150 images of child pornography on a computer in his home.

A criminal history check on Mr. Nichelson revealed that he had a previous conviction of sexual abuse in the 2nd degree in 1994 in New York.  Due to his previous conviction, he was sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison.          

“These defendants re-victimized the children who were exploited by the producers of the original child pornography.  Their illegal actions are part of the ongoing and unspeakable trade of stealing the innocence from child victims.  We will continue to use our resources not only to catch the producers of this filth, but also to catch the people who possess it,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.

Assistant United States Attorney Crawford Seals is prosecuting the case for the Government.  Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.

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Updated April 23, 2015