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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 14, 2017

Greer Man Sentenced to 82 Months on Child Porn Charges

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Scott Linnell, age 36, of Greer, was sentenced today in Greenville for possession of child pornography, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252A.    United States District Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, of Charleston, sentenced Linnell to 82 months in the Bureau of Prisons and ordered that he be under lifetime supervision.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on March 10, 2015, an undercover law enforcement officer signed into the undercover Kik user account in order to conduct child exploitation investigations on the Kik Messenger application.  On that same day, the undercover agent saw that user “phx_medic” had posted sexually explicit material in the Kik Messenger chat room “#lolitalovers” on March 8, 2015.  At this time, the undercover agent observed that user “phx_medic” had posted fourteen images into the Kik chat room.  The undercover agent was able to download and save these images to an undercover device.  The IP address was logged. 

In a second, unrelated undercover investigation, an individual at the same IP address was found to be trading child pornography and engaging in sexually explicit chats on a web forum used by individuals interested in sexual contact with children.

Based on these incidents, further investigation traced the IP address involved in the illicit activity to Linnell’s home.  On May 27, 2015, a federal search warrant was executed at the home. Computers and other devices were seized.  A forensic examination of the devices seized revealed 8,906 images of child pornography. Of these images, 773 were of infants and toddlers.  Ninety of these images were sadistic, masochistic, or violent.

The case was investigated by agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service and ICE - Homeland Security Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.

This case was brought 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, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105
Updated August 14, 2017