Former Youth Pastor At Church In Garland, Texas, Sentenced To 144 Months In Federal Prison On Child Pornography Conviction
DALLAS — Joshua Earls, 30, of Garland, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn to 144 months (12 years) in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release, following his guilty plea in October 2013 to one count of receipt of child pornography. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the factual resume filed in the case, Earls admitted that while he was a youth pastor, he established a relationship with female minor at his church, “Jane Doe,” who at the time was 16-years-old.
In April 2013, Jane Doe disclosed the nature of her relationship with Earls to the Garland Police Department, and on April 9, 2013, law enforcement executed a search of Earl’s residence and seized several computers. An examination of those computers resulted in the identification of well over 600 images of child pornography, including images of Jane Doe.
Earls admitted that he exchanged nude pictures and videos with Jane Doe and possessed videos of her engaging in sexually explicit conduct, at his request. A forensic examination of Earls’ cell phone revealed text messaging between he and Jane Doe, in which he solicits, encourages and persuades her to produce pornographic images of herself and send them to him.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s 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 sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Garland Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Miller prosecuted.