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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Former Evansville Physician Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Child Pornography

EVANSVILLE – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that John Honnigford, 47, of Evansville, Ind., was sentenced in federal court, by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young, to five years in federal prison, after having previously pleaded guilty to possession of sexually explicit material involving minors.

"Publically, Honnigford was a trusted physician, expected to maintain a high level of patient care; but behind closed doors, he is a child predator," said Minkler. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting child predators and keeping innocent children safe from being exploited by individuals, like Honnigford."

In March of 2017, a task force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation was conducting an investigation into file sharing activity on the internet in an undercover capacity. A connection was made between the officer’s investigative computer and a computer device using file sharing software. The task force officer downloaded 188 files from the computer linked to a residence in Evansville, Indiana owned by John Honnigford.

On May 16, 2017, a search warrant was executed at the residence of Honnigford. During an interview with Honnigford, he indicated that he knew the reason for the search. He admitted that he had a problem, which he’d unsuccessfully sought help for in the past, and that he needed to get help. Honnigford directed the officer to his primary computer. He told the task force officer that he had file sharing software on his primary computer and that he used external hard drives to store data files. Honnigford told the officer that he would find LS model images on one of the hard drives. The LS model files depicted minors in sexually explicit poses.

On May 18, 2017, an exam of Honnigford’s external hard drive was performed. The hard drive had many file folders that contained depictions of minors engaged in sex acts and minors depicted in sexually explicit poses, including depictions of the genital and public area of the minors. The hard drive contained large sets of images involving LS models depicting minor females in sexually explicit poses. A complete forensic exam of the primary computer and the external hard drive used by Honnigford resulted in finding 10,178 images, 72 videos, and 11 bondage images ranging from toddler to pre-teen.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting the most vulnerable of our communities who are defenseless and this sentence reinforces the message that we will continue to make identifying and investigating perpetrators a high priority," said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall. "Our children will always have an advocate in the FBI to ensure those who would exploit pay the price for their criminal activity."

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who prosecuted this case for the government, Honnigford will serve 10 years’ supervised release following his prison sentence.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to utilize and partner with law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals engaged in the sexual exploitation of children. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 4.1.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 15, 2020