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Press Release

Novato Man Sentenced To 84 Months In Prison For Possession Of Child Pornography

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

SAN FRANCISCO - David Andrew Nielsen was sentenced today to 84 months in prison for possessing child pornography, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin.  The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Susan Illston, U.S. District Judge, following the entry of a guilty plea on February 2, 2018.   

According to his guilty plea, Nielsen, 54, of Novato, Calif., admitted to possessing over 600 images and videos of child pornography, including images of minors younger than 12 years old and portrayals of the sexual abuse or exploitation of an infant or toddler.  Further, in determining the applicable calculation under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Illston found that an enhancement should be imposed because the defendant engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor. 

On August 31, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Nielsen with possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B).

In addition to the prison term, Judge Illston ordered Nielsen to serve a 7-year period of supervised release following his custodial sentence.  As part of his release conditions, Nielsen must register as a sex offender and participate in sex offender-specific treatment.  Nielsen has been in custody since his arrest in August 2017, and he will begin serving the sentence immediately.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sailaja M. Paidipaty and Christina McCall are prosecuting the case with assistance from Marina Ponomarchuk and Michelle Alter.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by ICE, the Novato Police Department, the Concord Police Department, and the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children task force.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated May 11, 2018

Project Safe Childhood