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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Utica Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Transporting and Possessing Child Pornography

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Shawn Bunnell, age 35, of Utica, New York, was sentenced yesterday to serve a term of 600 months in prison after being convicted of ten counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also sentenced Bunnell to a lifetime term of supervised release, to begin following his term of imprisonment.  Bunnell will remain a registered sex offender upon his release from prison. 

A cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to the New York State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Utica led to the defendant, who was identified as the person who had used a cell phone to produce images depicting the molestation of a two year old girl.  As part of his guilty plea, Bunnell admitted that from on or about May 30, 2017 through on or about August 15, 2017, he transported numerous image files depicting one or more minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct through servers maintained by Google, Inc. and Dropbox, Inc.  Further, the defendant admitted to possessing a number of graphic video files depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct on a Samsung cellular telephone in his possession.  

The defendant acknowledged that he has a prior conviction relating to sexual abuse or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor, in that on or about March 27, 2003, he was convicted in Oneida County Court of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, in violation of New York Penal Law, Section 130.65(3), relating to the sexual abuse of a child under the age of 11, and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and 3 years post-release supervision.

This case was investigated by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Oneida County Child Advocacy Center, Whitesboro Police Department, Utica Police Department, New York State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa M. Fletcher, Geoffrey J.L. Brown, and Sahar L. Amandolare.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated March 13, 2019