Coercion of a Minor to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity Leads to 10 Year Federal Prison Sentence for New Orleans Man
LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that two defendants were sentenced and one pleaded guilty to child pornography related charges. The hearings were held before U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi.
WESTLAKE MAN SENTENCED FOR POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Michael Sonnier, 31, of Westlake, La., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty August 1, 2013.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, law enforcement authorities detected Sonnier downloading child pornography using file sharing software. A search of the defendant’s computer and phone on October 18, 2012, revealed that he downloaded more than 26 movies of hardcore child pornography, which included sadistic material depicting prepubescent children. Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker prosecuted the case.
EX-TUGBOAT CAPTAIN SENTENCED FOR TRANSPORTING CHILD PORN
Former tugboat captain Kenneth Dwight Dickey, 57, of Foley, Ala., was sentenced to 108 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for transporting child pornography. He pleaded guilty August 1, 2013.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, law enforcement authorities detected Dickey downloading child pornography using “peer-to-peer” software. Those using peer-to-peer software usually take a file and place it in a “shared folder” on a computer for the purpose of distributing it to others on the internet. A search of the defendant’s computer and phone on October 15, 2012 showed that Dickey was in possession of child pornography. He also admitted to transporting child pornography from Mississippi to the Western District of Louisiana. The child pornography on the computer was sadistic in nature. Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker prosecuted the case.
JENNINGS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Seth Ryan Bivens, 29, of Jennings, La., pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, law enforcement authorities discovered that Bivens was downloading child pornography using “peer-to-peer” software. A warrant was obtained, and Bivens’ home was searched on November 14, 2012. An examination of Bivens’ computer and other electronic devices uncovered 294 movies and 28 images of child pornography.
Bivens faces five up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release of five years to life. Sentencing is set for February 6, 2014. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Abendroth is prosecuting the case.
All of the cases were 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity 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 hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp. Tips may be submitted anonymously.