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Press Release

Man Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For Possessing Over 50,000 Images Of Child Pornography

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

CHICAGO — A man formerly of Lafayette, Indiana and now in federal custody was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in federal prison for amassing a large collection of child pornography over multiple years. The defendant, THOMAS MANNING, 54, pleaded guilty last July to possessing child pornography, admitting that he had collected more than 50,000 illicit images and videos.

Manning was also ordered to pay a total of $9,750 in restitution to five identified victims who submitted restitution requests to the Court, as well as a $12,500 fine. He was placed on supervised release for five years following his prison term by U.S. District Chief Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman. There was also an order of forfeiture granted, and the defendant will forfeit certain computer equipment used in commission of the crime. Manning must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for release. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

Manning was an employee of the Environmental Protection Agency, who worked as an Information Technology Specialist and maintained and oversaw EPA’s loaner pool of computers that were shared among EPA employees for official use. According to court documents, in 2012, the defendant used one of the laptops at EPA to search for and view child pornography. The defendant tried to erase his activity, using software designed for that purpose, and then returned the laptop to EPA. In July 2012, another EPA employee was in the process of reassigning the laptop to a new user, when the employee discovered evidence suggesting use of the laptop to view child pornography. The employee informed his supervisor, and the matter was referred to EPA’s Office of the Inspector General.  After further investigation, agents learned that Manning also possessed tens of thousands of images of child pornography on a personal hard drive that he stored in a locked drawer in his EPA office.

“Both the number of images defendant collected and the types of images defendant collected distinguish him as someone who had much more than a passing interest in seeing small children being hurt, humiliated, and exploited,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Porter wrote in a sentencing memo.

The federal investigation was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General (EPA OIG).

“The OIG will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate EPA employees engaging in this type of criminal activity,” said Christopher Gaffney, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General.    

The sentence was announced today by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Christopher Gaffney, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General.    

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Porter. 

Updated July 23, 2015