Lieutenant from Kirtland Air Force Base Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Jesse Furse, 35, of Albuquerque. N.M., pled guilty today to federal child pornography offenses. At the time he committed the offenses, Furse was a Lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base.
Furse was arrested on Feb. 10, 2017, on a criminal complaint alleging child pornography charges. The investigation into the case was initiated in Oct. 2015, when an agent with the New Mexico Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force came upon a device using a specific IP address that allegedly was being used to share child pornography. In Jan. 2016, after investigation by APD revealed that the IP address was registered to Furse at an address located on Kirtland Air Force Base, the investigation was referred to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). On Jan. 29, 2016, AFOSI obtained a search warrant for Furse’s residence from a Military Magistrate, and AFOSI and APD executed the search warrant and seized a computer and computer-related media from Furse’s residence. The FBI joined the investigation in Feb. 2016, and obtained a federal search warrant for the computer-related evidence seized from Furse’s residence in March 2016.
Court documents indicate that the computer-related evidence seized from Furse’s residence was encrypted, and experts at the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) repeatedly attempted to access the computer-related evidence between March 2016 and Feb. 2017. In Feb. 2017, RCFL experts were able to access the computer-related evidence, and a preliminary review of the contents of a hard drive seized from Furse’s residence indicated that it contained approximately 1400 video files of child pornography.
Furse subsequently was charged on Feb. 28, 2017, in a nine-count indictment with distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct on eight occasions between Oct. 2015 and Jan. 2016, and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct between May 2014 and Jan. 2016. The indictment charged Furse with committing the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Furse pled guilty to the nine-count indictment. In entering the guilty plea, Furse admitted that he made available for sharing, through online peer-to-peer file sharing software, approximately 58,529 image and video files containing child pornography on eight occasions between Oct. 10, 2015 and Jan. 17, 2016. Furse further admitted that from March 2015 through Jan. 2016, he possessed an external hard drive that contained approximately 1,436 video files and 13,335 image files of child pornography.
At sentencing, Furse faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the distribution charges, and a statutory maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the possession charge.
The investigation of this case was handled by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, New Mexico ICAC Task Force, AFOSI, APD, and RCFL. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Mease and Jonathon M. Gerson are prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 86 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.