Grand Island Man Sentenced to 52 Years for Conspiracy to Produce Child Pornography and Production of Child Pornography
Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Christopher Groth 39, of Gretna, Nebraska, was sentenced today in Lincoln, Nebraska, by Senior United States District Judge John M. Gerrard for one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Groth was sentenced to 432 months in prison and will serve 20 years on supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. Groth was additionally ordered to pay a $3,000 special assessment which will contribute to funds established for victims of these types of crimes.
This case initiated in February of 2022 with an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into several cyber tips from Yahoo! which indicated that Groth was uploading child pornography onto his email accounts. After a search warrant was received it was determined that several of the images located on the account were likely original productions created by Groth involving a child which depicted sexually explicit conduct. A residential search warrant and arrest warrant were executed immediately following this discovery. Groth, who was determined to be a police officer with the Omaha Police Department, was arrested while at work without incident and was very soon after removed from his position with OPD.
A review of Groth’s devices and accounts conducted by the FBI revealed eight images which were produced by Groth on two occasions in 2020 involving a single child victim. Groth emailed these images to himself in February 2021 as a method of saving the files. A search of Groth’s phone and email account revealed more than 700 child exploitation files depicting other unidentified children which he appeared to receive online and subsequently saved using his email account.
“No one is above the law,” said Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr. “Mr. Groth’s crime was committed against the most vulnerable of our society, a child. The sentence imposed by Judge Gerrard reflects the seriousness of Groth’s conduct and hopefully acts as deterrent for others. The United States Attorney’s Office thanks the FBI for its quick actions in this case as well as OPD for their cooperation and responsiveness.”
After the sentencing, Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “In an appalling and heinous way, Christopher Groth violated his sworn oath as a police officer by victimizing children. Today’s sentence ensures that he is held accountable for his actions. Investigating this type of crime is one of the Bureau’s highest priorities and FBI Omaha will remain relentless in our pursuit to protect children from predators.”
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 CEOS, 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 www.justice.gov/psc.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Donald Kleine, Chief, General Criminal Unit (402) 661-3700