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Press Release

Watertown Man Sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography

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

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Watertown, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of Child Pornography was sentenced on December 6, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann.

Derek Michael Mason, age 20, was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, a $5,000 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Mason was indicted for Receipt and Distribution of Child Pornography and Transportation of Child Pornography by a federal grand jury on August 17, 2020.  He pled guilty on August 9, 2021, to Possession of Child Pornography.

The conviction stemmed from incidents between May 1, 2017, and May 5, 2020, when Mason knowingly possessed graphic image and video files depicting one or more minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

Mason used his Apple iPhone 8 to obtain the files from the internet which involved and affected interstate commerce.  Mason knew the files contained child pornography when he downloaded them.  He also knew that some of the files depicted prepubescent minors who had not attained 12 years of age.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

Mason has been allowed to self-surrender to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service by January 11, 2022.

Updated December 9, 2021

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