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Press Release

Shelby County Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

DAYTON – Robert Phelps, 49, of Jackson Center, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 36 months in prison for possessing child pornography.


Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and other members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force announced the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice.


Phelps was one of three defendants convicted in the Southern District of Ohio as the result of a national FBI investigation, “Operation Pacifier,” which involved the takedown of a “dark web” site dedicated to child pornography. Using a court-approved Network Investigative Technique to pierce through the anonymity provided by the Tor network, agents uncovered IP addresses and other information that helped locate and identify users. Investigators sent more than 1,000 leads to FBI field offices in every state in the country and thousands more to oversees partners.


As a result of the investigation, at least 350 U.S.-based individuals have been arrested, 25 producers of child pornography have been prosecuted, 51 alleged hands-on abusers have been prosecuted and 55 American children who were subjected to sexual abuse have been successfully identified or rescued.


According to court documents in this case, when federal agents executed a search warrant in July at Phelps’s home, on just one computer they discovered more than 6,300 images and 590 videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A separate hard drive contained an additional 255,000 images and 120 videos.


Phelps pleaded guilty in April to one count of possessing child pornography.


U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation by the FBI, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Amy M. Smith and Andrew J. Hunt, who are representing the United States in this case. 


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Updated December 18, 2017

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