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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 9, 2014

Barrow County Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Federal Prison For Distributing Child Pornography

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Jonathan Lee Whitmire has been sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography.

“This defendant amassed a large collection of photos and videos depicting the sexual assault of very young children,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “We will continue to pursue significant sentences for those who trade in the victimization of the most innocent and vulnerable among us.”    

“As long as there are predators in our society who traffic in the rape of children for their perverse desires, there will be HSI special agents a few steps behind them working tirelessly to seek justice for the victims of this pernicious crime,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “We will follow every lead, we will pull every thread, and we simply will not stop until every depraved degenerate who distributes this filth understands we will be knocking at their door the minute they hit ‘send.’”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the criminal indictment, and information presented in court:  In September 2013, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a search warrant in Cheyenne, Wyo., at the home of an individual using an international website to exchange child pornography.  Investigators found that the Wyoming subject was also trading child pornography with numerous individuals using electronic mail.  Based on a search of the Wyoming subject’s email accounts, HSI identified Jonathan Lee Whitmire as an individual who traded child pornography with the Wyoming subject.  Subsequent searches of Whitmire’s email accounts showed Whitmire traded sexually explicit images of young children with a substantial number of other individuals using various email accounts.

In January 2014, a search warrant was executed at Whitmire’s home in Auburn, Ga.  A forensic examination of electronic media found in Whitmire’s home showed that he had a large collection of images and videos of young children being sexually assaulted.  The investigation also revealed that Whitmire molested at least two young girls.

Whitmire, 36, of Auburn, Ga., was sentenced by United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley to 20 years in prison to be followed by 20 years of supervised release.  Whitmire was also ordered to pay a $3,000.00 fine and a $100 special assessment.  The defendant will be required to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

Whitmire is charged with two counts of child molestation and two counts of aggravated sexual battery in Barrow County, Ga.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Barrow County District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney William McKinnon prosecuted the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

Updated April 8, 2015