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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 1, 2022

Raleigh County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Crime

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Austin Michael Light, 21, of Beaver, pleaded guilty today to possession of prepubescent child pornography.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on January 27, 2021, law enforcement officers received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding possible child pornography uploaded to a Google Mail account. The investigation led officers to Light. On August 18, 2021, investigators executed a search warrant at Light’s residence and seized several electronic devices including Light’s cell phone.

A forensic analysis of Light’s cell phone revealed nine images and 49 videos of minors and prepubescent minors, including infants, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Several of the videos were of adults sexually assaulting prepubescent minors and of minors engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct. Light admitted to downloading the child pornography from the internet from January 2020 until at least August 18, 2021. Light further admitted to attempting to upload a video depicting child pornography to the internet on January 26, 2021.

Light is scheduled to be sentenced on December 22, 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, five years to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Light must also register as a sex offender.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force.

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Julie White is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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.justice.gov/psc.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:21-cr-259.

 

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 1, 2022