INDIANAPOLIS- A federal jury has found James Lee Willis, 40, of Bloomington, Indiana, guilty of receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material.
According to court documents and evidence introduced at trial, in January 2018, law enforcement officers first became aware of Willis’s online activity when an IP address that later traced to his house showed downloads of videos and images that depicted minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Some files depicted very graphic material of minors under 10 years old being sexually abused and raped by adult men.
In February 2018, law enforcement officers searched Willis’s Bloomington residence and found electronic devices containing evidence that Willis had searched for and downloaded child sexual abuse material over the internet. The digital forensic evidence from the devices again demonstrated Willis’s interest in videos and images of minors as young as 10 years old being sexually abused, including evidence of when Willis downloaded the material and evidence of when he watched it on the devices.
In all, the evidence showed that on dates in January and February 2018, Willis downloaded and watched dozens of files from the internet that contained videos and images of child sexual exploitation.
U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers and Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a partnership of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies led by the Indiana State Police. The Task Force is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting crimes involving the technology-facilitated sexual exploitation of children and the trafficking of child sexual abuse material. Each year, Indiana ICAC investigators evaluate thousands of tips, investigate hundreds of cases, and rescue dozens of children from ongoing sexual abuse.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kristina M. Korobov and Adam Eakman, who prosecuted this case.
U.S. District Court Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson presided over the trial and will sentence Willis at a later date. Willis faces a prison sentence of a minimum of 5 years, up to 20 years, for each of the 5 charges related to his downloading activity, and from 0 to 20 years for the charge relating to his possession of the material. Willis also faces a period of supervision of 5 years, up to life, following his release from prison, and he must register as a sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school. Actual sentences are determined by a federal district court judge and are typically less than the maximum penalties.
If you are a victim of child sexual exploitation, please contact your local police department. Resources for victims of child exploitation can be found on our website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdin/project-safe-childhood
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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, please visit www.justice.gov/psc