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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Georgia

Friday, October 24, 2014

Statesboro Man Sentenced To 15 Years For Requesting And Receiving Child Pornography

Statesboro, GA: Stuart Powell Johnson, 52, of Statesboro, Georgia, was sentenced earlier this week by United States District Court Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 15 years in prison, followed by twenty years of supervised release, for soliciting images of child pornography over the Internet.  He will be required to register as a sex offender.  Johnson pled guilty to the crime on June 16, 2014.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “Using the Internet in an effort to access images depicting child sexual abuse promotes the further victimization of our children and cannot be tolerated.  The U. S. Attorney’s Office aggressively prosecutes individuals, like this defendant, who exploit our children.  This defendant committed a serious crime for which a lengthy punishment is justified.”

“This is an entirely appropriate sentence for a defendant who trafficked in the sexual exploitation of children,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), in Atlanta.  “Most importantly, we were able to identify and save a previously unknown victim who was suffering from abuse in Texas through the outstanding work of our computer forensics analyst in Savannah.  In the fight against child pornography, these innocent victims will always come first for HSI.”

Evidence presented during the guilty plea and sentencing hearings revealed that Johnson, who had previously been convicted of a child-pornography-related offense when in the military, used an email account and an international website to solicit images depicting child sexual abuse for his own sexual gratification.  At the time Johnson was a registered sex offender, and used other individuals’ computers and wireless connections in an effort to avoid detection.  Significantly, the forensic review of a number of the images located in Johnson’s email account led to the identification of a girl in San Antonio who was being sexually exploited there. 

This prosecution was the result of a cooperative investigation conducted by HSI in St. Louis, Savannah, and HSI’s Cyber Crimes Center.  Law enforcement assistance was also provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide U. S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s 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.

Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood, Deputy Criminal Chief and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.  For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Updated April 13, 2015