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Press Release

Louisville Man Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For Sexual Abuse Of A Minor Under The Age Of Seven In The Production Of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky – A Louisville man was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell, to 27 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for sexually abusing a minor under the age of seven during the production of child pornography, today announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

According to the plea agreement, Thomas Evan Middleton, age 50, admitted to sexually abusing a minor female during the creation of pornography, while babysitting the minor at his home on five separate occasions between August 2009 and May 2011.

This case was initially investigated by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office (LAGO) who contacted law enforcement in Louisville, Kentucky regarding a peer-to-peer investigation into Louisiana resident Robert Swan. The LAGO had previously executed a search warrant on Swan’s residence on January 30, 2013. During the review process of Swan’s electronic storage devices the LAGO discovered images of Swan and a then unknown individual engaged in the sexual exploitation of a minor. The unknown man had a cross tattoo on his right middle finger, and was later identified as Thomas Middleton through identifying information located on Swan’s computer. During the course of their investigation, thousands of digital images of child pornography were recovered, including images with Swan and Middleton sexually abusing a 4 to 5 year old female.

On July 24, 2013, a federal search warrant was executed on Middleton’s residence in Kentucky. Several items in the residence appeared to be the same as items observed in some of the sexual abuse images found on Swan’s computer. During the execution of the search warrant, Middleton identified the child victim depicted in the pictures with him.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Spencer McKiness and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

This case 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 December 15, 2014