Maryland Man Sentenced for Possessing More Than 150,00 Images of Child Pornography
LAFAYETTE , La.: U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Phillip Sessa Jr., 30, of Essex, Md., was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to 97 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release for possessing child pornography.
According to court documents, an acquaintance of Sessa alerted authorities in November 2011 that Sessa’s personal computer at his Opelousas residence contained child pornography. A search of the residence turned up compact discs, computer hard drives and a phone containing child pornography. More than 1,000 videos depicting children in sexual situations were found. When questioned about the images on his computer, Sessa said some were of his girlfriend’s children who resided in the Baltimore, Md., area. Sessa was later released pending the investigation, and in December 2011, he moved back to Maryland. Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized more than 150,000 images and videos. Sessa was arrested in January 2012 and pleaded guilty July 23, 2012.
“Possessing obscene and illegal images is a serious crime that will not be tolerated,” Finley said. “Protecting children from exploitation is a priority for our office. We will not stop prosecuting those who promote the abuse of children by possessing such images.”
The Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Louisiana State Police-Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice launched nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation andObscenity Section (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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE. Investigators are available at all ours to answer hotline calls.