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Justice News

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Huntington Man Convicted Of Possessing And Attempting To Distribute Child Pornography

Defendant was previously convicted of sexually assaulting a ten year old

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –A 66-year-old Cabell County resident was convicted of possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography after a three-day bench trial in Huntington, West Virginia, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today.  Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers found that John D. Hayes, of Huntington, West Virginia, knowingly possessed child pornography on computer equipment located in his residence and attempted to distribute child pornography via a file-sharing program. 

The investigation began when it was discovered that child pornography was being shared via Frostwire between March 17 and April 28, 2012.  The associated IP address was traced back to the Huntington residence of Hayes.  Computer evidence subsequently seized from the Hayes’ home pursuant to a search warrant executed on May 24, 2012, including a portable USB drive, was forensically analyzed and determined to contain images and videos of child pornography.   The forensic examination further revealed that one of the computers possessed by Hayes was loaded with the Frostwire program and had a unique user identification number (known as a GUID) that matched the GUID found to be sharing child pornography in March and April of 2012. 

Hayes was previously convicted in the circuit court of Putnam County, West Virginia, in 1979 for two counts of second degree sexual assault, one of which involved a 10-year-old female. 

Hayes faces a minimum mandatory 15 years and up to 60 years imprisonment, as well as a lifetime of supervised release.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 7, 2014, in Huntington, West Virginia.

The investigation of Hayes was conducted by the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of the Huntington Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Rada and Lisa Johnston were in charge of the prosecution.   

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood.  In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.

Updated January 7, 2015