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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tonya Jennissen Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison And 5 Years Of Supervised Release For Possession Of Child Pornography

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Tonya Jennissen, 37, of Claremont, New Hampshire was sentenced to 30 months in prison, having pled guilty to one count of possessing child pornography. United States District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford, sitting in Rutland, also sentenced Jennissen to 5 years of supervised release.   

Court records indicate that, in 2012, Jennissen engaged in an online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old Vermont boy that lasted about two months.  In the course of the relationship, Jennissen and the victim engaged in an internet Skype session, which resulted in the creation of sexually explicit images of the victim.  These images led to Jennissen=s conviction. The relationship ended when the victim=s father reviewed his son=s computer records, discovered the relationship, and reported the matter to Vermont law enforcement.  Law enforcement searched Jennissen=s New Hampshire residence and seized her computer.  Search of that computer revealed, among other things, images of unidentified nude infants and toddlers.  The computer also contained a collection of anime depicting adults sexually assaulting young children. 

For her crime, Jennissen faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.  In sentencing Jennissen, Judge Crawford cited the need to eliminate adult-child sexual contact via the internet and the dangers associated with such sexual contact.   

The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan prosecuted the case.  Jennissen is represented by Steven Barth, Esq., of the Federal Public Defender=s Office.   

This prosecution was part of the U.S. Department of Justice=s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney=s Offices and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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Updated June 22, 2015