SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a West Plains, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.
James A. Harrison, 53, of West Plains, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a Feb. 26, 2014, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Harrison admitted that he downloaded child pornography from Web sites, and that he received and distributed child pornography through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper was conducting an undercover operation on Jan. 28, 2013, when he identified Harrison’s computer as sharing images of child pornography over the Internet through a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. The next day, the trooper downloaded a video of child pornography from Harrison’s computer. On Feb. 26, 2013, Harrison’s computer was still connected to the file-sharing network and had 10 files available for sharing that were known child pornography files. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Harrison’s residence and seized a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a hard drive and various digital media storage devices.
Investigators examined Harrison’s computers and digital media storage devices and found 474 child pornography videos and 560 images of child pornography (that ranged in age from three years old to 13-14 years old).
Under federal statutes, Harrison is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Cassville, Mo., Police Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force.
Project Safe ChildhoodThis 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 www.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."