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Press Release

Hot Springs Man Sentenced for Receipt of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jonathan A. Kobes, sitting in district court in Rapid City, South Dakota, has sentenced a Hot Springs, South Dakota, man for Receipt of Child Pornography. The sentencing took place on May 14, 2024.

Christian Justus Willard, a/k/a “Bamalife24”, age 24, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Willard was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund and $3,000 in restitution to his victim.

A federal grand jury indicted Willard in August of 2023 for offenses relating to sexual exploitation of a minor. On March 8, 2024, he pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.  

Willard used the internet-based application Snapchat and his cellular phone to entice a 13-year-old female to engage in sexually explicit activity. Despite knowing the victim’s age, Willard solicited sexually explicit photos and videos from the victim and offered her drugs. Willard saved several of the illegal photos and videos on his cellular phone.

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 the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This case was investigated by the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Hot Springs Police Department, and the Fall River County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Knox prosecuted the case.

Willard was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.



Updated May 23, 2024

Project Safe Childhood