Hogsett Announces Sentencing Of Terre Haute Man On Child Exploitation Charges
TERRE HAUTE – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Emery Norton, age 26, of Terre Haute, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney to 135 months (11 years, 3 months) in federal prison after admitting that he received child pornography. Hogsett said the sentencing decision marked the conclusion of another prosecution as part of Operation Community Watch, a new effort which aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
“Every time one of these horrific images or videos is viewed, a child is victimized,” Hogsett said. “This type of behavior is disgusting, it is unacceptable, and it is illegal. That is why with the launch of Operation Community Watch last year, we made it clear that this office’s approach to child exploitation is very simple: zero tolerance.”
According to charging documents, an investigation into Norton began in November 2012 when an Indiana State Police detective located an individual online who was sharing thousands of images and video files that depicted child pornography. These activities were traced to a home in Terre Haute, and in late March 2013, a search warrant was executed at the home on Liberty Avenue.
During the search, Norton consented to a search of both a laptop computer and a desktop computer inside the home. A forensic examination of those devices revealed both images and videos depicting child pornography. Later, investigators located a "thumb drive" that contained more pictures and videos depicting child pornography. All told, tens of thousands of exploitative files were found within the home, some of which depicted children as young as age nine.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Norton was ordered to serve lifetime federal supervision at the end of his prison term. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to three victims who were identified as being depicted in the materials he received.
This arrest comes as Hogsett has announced a comprehensive crackdown on child exploitation in Indiana. Just last year, he launched "Operation Community Watch," which will allow prosecutors and investigators to use cutting-edge techniques to identify and charge people in Hoosier communities who are engaged in the receipt and trafficking of child pornography materials. In this case, these efforts were facilitated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, along with Terre Haute and Vigo County law enforcement.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Hogsett pointed out that in the last Project Safe Childhood reporting year, the Office prosecuted 52 defendants, an increase of 37% over the prior year, and 49 defendants were convicted and sentenced. These are all-time records for the Office.
The greatest measure of the PSC program's impact, however, is the identification and rescue of child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Over the last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office successfully identified more than 120 child victims, including minors in Indiana, numerous places in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and other countries around the world.
Led nationally by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.