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Press Release

Former Marin Youth Film Educator Sentenced To Three Years In Prison For Possession Of Child Pornography

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

SAN FRANCISCO – John Morrison was sentenced to three years in prison for possessing child pornography, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge.

Morrison, 73 of San Francisco, pleaded guilty to the charge on June 19, 2019.  According to his plea agreement, Morrison admitted that in March 2017, he possessed more than 600 videos and images that contained child pornography and that he used Skype to download the videos and images.  Morrison further acknowledged that at the time he possessed the images, he worked with youth at the California Film Institute in San Rafael, Calif., as the Director of Education, where he taught film education to his students.

A federal grand jury indicted Morrison on June 5, 2018, charging him with receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1), and possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B).  Morrison pleaded guilty to the possession count and the receipt count was dismissed at sentencing.

This investigation began with cyber-tips made to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  The cyber-tips indicated that an individual was using Skype to upload child pornography.  Law enforcement eventually identified the defendant as the user of the specific Skype account being used to upload the images.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release, ordered him to pay $2,500 in restitution, and required that he register as a sex offender as required by state law.  Judge Breyer ordered the defendant to surrender and begin serving the prison term no later than January 13, 2020.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the San Francisco Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Updated November 14, 2019

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