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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Friday, March 18, 2016

Crystal Falls Businessman Sentenced For Distribution Of Child Pornography

          MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN — Stephen John Plowe, 62, of Menasha, Wisconsin was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for distribution of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell ordered Plowe to serve five years of court supervision following his release from prison, to pay a $100 special assessment, and to pay $12,000 to victims of his crime. Plowe will also be required to register as a sexual offender.

          On December 14, 2015, Plowe pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge of distributing child pornography. Plowe’s activities came to light through three separate undercover investigations in which officers, posing as 13 to 14 year-old girls, conversed with him using Yahoo! Internet Messenger. In these online conversations, Plowe engaged in explicit sexual talk and sent child pornographic images to the undercover officers. The investigation revealed that Plowe was using a computer located at Plowe Furniture in Crystal Falls, Michigan. Investigators, armed with a federal search warrant, seized the computer and the contents of Plowe’s Yahoo! accounts. A forensic examination of the computer and Plowe’s Yahoo! accounts revealed Plowe’s possession of approximately 1,100 images and 118 videos containing child pornography. Plowe admitted engaging in online conversations with underage females, receiving nude images from them, and sending child pornography videos and images for approximately eight years.

          This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney's Office, county prosecutor's offices, Internet Crimes Against Children task force (ICAC), federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the following web site:

          Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Somervell County, Texas Sheriff Department, the Bay County, Florida Sheriff Department, and the Macomb County, Michigan Sheriff Department investigated the case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D. Lochner.


Project Safe Childhood
Updated March 21, 2016