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Press Release

Former Missoula man sentenced to 15 years in prison for child pornography crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

MISSOULA — A former Missoula resident convicted by a federal jury of transporting, distributing and receiving child pornography using the internet and social media was sentenced today to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

After a three-day trial in July, the jury found Taurean Jerome Weber, 40, formerly of Missoula and recently of Littleton, Colorado, guilty of all eight counts, including four counts of transportation of child pornography, three counts of distribution and one count of receipt of child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Judge Christensen also ordered $27,000 restitution to nine victims who sought restitution.

In court documents and at trial, the government alleged that from about September 2016 to July 2020, Weber used Dropbox,  Instagram, and electronic devices to obtain, store, and distribute child pornography. Overall, Weber distributed or possessed at least 715 video files and 3,567 images of sexually explicit conduct which, under the guidelines, equates to 57,192 images. The government presented evidence that Instagram repeatedly disabled Weber’s accounts for distributing the content, yet Weber quickly created new accounts and resumed sharing child pornography.

An investigation began in October 2019 when Instagram reported child pornography on its platform to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which sends those CyberTips to members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for investigation. Records obtained through subpoenas and search warrants found evidence that Weber was the creator and user of the social media and email accounts. Investigators served a search warrant on Weber’s residence, seized computers and storage devices and determined they contained video and image files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The government further alleged Weber used multiple usernames on multiple platforms to purchase and trade child pornography and that his collection contained a who’s who of identified series of child pornography by NCMEC.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cyndee L. Peterson and Karla E. Painter prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Missoula Police Department Det. Katie Hall, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and FBI.

This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.

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Contact

Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
406-247-4623

Updated November 18, 2022

Topics
Project Safe Childhood
Component
Release Number: 22-284