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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nebraska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tennessee Man Sentenced for Producing Child Pornography

Acting United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that Robert Lee Wright, age 38, of Cleveland, Tennessee, was sentenced today to 400 months’ imprisonment by United States District Court Judge John M. Gerrard for Production of Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release, Wright will be on supervised release for life and be required to register as a sex offender. Additionally, Wright was ordered to pay $66,000 in restitution.

On December 23, 2018, Wright was the passenger in a rental vehicle stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol in Hamilton County, Nebraska. A search of the vehicle was conducted and 95 electronic devices and storage devices were recovered from within the vehicle. One of these devices was Wright’s Samsung Galaxy J3 cellular phone, which contained a microSD memory card. Wright was arrested on unrelated state charges immediately following the search of the vehicle and he was interviewed on December 23, 2018. During this interview, Wright stated that all of the electronic devices were his.

On January 4, 2019, a state search warrant was obtained through the County Court of Hamilton County, Nebraska by the Nebraska State Patrol to search Wright’s Samsung Galaxy J3. A review of a microSD card from the Samsung Galaxy J3 cellular phone located more than 700 images of child pornography. Additionally, a video located of Wright filming himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with an infant girl who was confirmed to be approximately 23 months old.

While in the Hamilton County Jail, Wright gave his login information for his Gmail account to a third party in Tennessee over the phone. This allowed for that individual to access and receive the child pornography stored on the account. The FBI reviewed approximately 100 of Wright’s devices as well as his internet-based cloud accounts. This review found a total of 43,678 images and 922 videos depicting children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The FBI also identified and located the 23-month-old girl. The FBI and local law enforcement searched the storage unit where Wright produced the video with the 23-month-old girl which was rented by an associate of Wright’s. The FBI also located and collected sheets that were depicted in the video. 

Following the sentencing, Acting United States Attorney Sharp noted, “The investigation and prosecution of Robert Wright involved extensive collaboration between our office, the FBI in Nebraska and Tennessee, and its local law enforcement partners. This collaboration is a hallmark of the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse and to bring offenders to justice. Today’s 400-month sentence reflects the heinous nature of the crimes committed and the reality that Robert Wright is a sexual predator. Today’s sentence will ensure that Wright will not be in a position where he can prey on children again.”

After the sentencing, FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “Robert Lee Wright engaged in the most despicable of crimes, victimizing young children for his own depraved gratification.  It is a priority for the FBI to use any investigative resources necessary to assist our law enforcement partners in removing criminals like Wright from our communities.” 

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 United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Papillion Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, and the Bradley County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Office.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated July 23, 2021