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Press Release

West Columbia Man Sentenced for Distributing Child Pornography

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

GALVESTON – West Columbia resident Joseph Robert Shoemake, 36, has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Shoemake pleaded guilty Dec. 16, 2015.  

Today, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. ordered Shoemake to serve 151 months in federal prison. The sentence will be immediately followed by 15 years of supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the Internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.  

A federal grand jury indicted Shoemake Aug. 19, 2015, following an investigation conducted by the Houston FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. That investigation revealed Shoemake was making child pornography available to others through the use of peer-to-peer software over the Internet. The images included children under the age of 12 being sexually violated by adults and children under the age of 12 in positions which caused their genitalia to be displayed in a lewd/lascivious manner. Bondage involving children was also present on his computer. Several images and videos also depicted minors under the age of five. 

Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the home of a third party where Shoemake was using the Internet connection at that residence to receive and distribute child pornography in an attempt to avoid detection. The examination of the computer media ultimately obtained from Shoemake revealed more than 1,229 digital images and approximately 15 videos which contained child pornography.  

He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.  

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie N. Searle and  Sherri L. Zack, 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Updated June 2, 2016

Project Safe Childhood