You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kentucky Man Sentenced in Missoula to 15 Years in Prison for Child Porn Crime

MISSOULA – Ryan Hatfield, 25, of Mount Washington, Kentucky was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison, followed by ten years of supervised release, for conspiracy to advertise child pornography.  Hatfield was also required to forfeit his computer and hard drives that were used to commit the crime.  Chief U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen sentenced Hatfield following a March 4, 2015, change of plea hearing, in which Hatfield pleaded guilty to the offense.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee Peterson, the government stated that if the case had proceeded to trial, the government would have proven that an invitation-only online bulletin board, referred to as Dark Moon, was created in 2011.  It allowed members to advertise and exchange images of child pornography.  Beginning in approximately April 2012, Hatfield became a member of the bulletin board.  He made posts on the board and requested child pornography from others on the Dark Moon bulletin board.  He also responded to and commented on posts of child pornography on the board.  Forensic analysis revealed that he used his computer and two external hard drives to facilitate the commission of the offense.

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 (ICAC) 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.

Assistant United States Attorney Cyndee Peterson prosecuted this case along with Maureen Cain, of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section. Because there is no parole in the federal system, Hatfield will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence before he is released from prison.

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
LAURA WEISS, Public Information Officer, (406) 457-5274
Updated June 11, 2015