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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Brevard, N.C. Man Sentenced To 17 Years In Prison On Child Pornography Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced today Robert Joseph Lamb, 30, of Brevard, N.C., to 207 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Lamb, a/k/a “Ezra,” was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender.           

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Special Agent in Charge Alan K. Flora of SBI Computer Crimes Unit and Commander of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Sheriff David Mahoney of the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office and Chief Tammy Hooper of the Asheville Police Department. 

According to filed documents and statements made in court, on or about January 7, 2014, the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that Lamb possessed images and videos of child pornography.  A deputy with the sheriff’s office acting in an undercover capacity first contacted Lamb via the Internet.  In a subsequent phone conversation, Lamb told the officer that he possessed child pornography and the two arranged to meet after the undercover officer expressed an interest in viewing Lamb’s child pornography collection.  According to court records, Lamb met the undercover officer and the two went to Lamb’s residence, where Lamb proceeded to show the officer numerous images and videos of child pornography. 

Court records show that Lamb had an extensive collection of child pornography, some of which depicted children under the age of five being sexually abused by adults.  According to court records, over the course of the meeting, Lamb expressed an interest in engaging in sexual contact with young children.  Lamb discussed with the undercover officer the idea of kidnapping, sexually abusing and murdering a child.  According to court records, when the undercover officer told Lamb that he had a six-year-old daughter, Lamb offered to pay the officer to engage in sexual contact with her, and gave the officer $100 as “down payment.” 

On October 31, 2014, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Lamb’s residence.  A forensic analysis of devices seized from Lamb’s residence revealed that Lamb possessed an extensive collection of child pornography, consisting of 816 images and 72 videos.  According to court records, Lamb had also distributed at least 314 times some of his child pornography images and videos via video and photo sharing applications and the Internet.

“Lamb had a sick appetite for watching horrific videos depicting the sexual abuse of very young children.  His extensive child pornography collection included images that were among the worst ever described to the court.  Thanks to the excellent investigative efforts of our law enforcement partners we have secured a long prison sentence against Lamb and have successfully removed this dangerous child predator from our community,” said U.S. Attorney Rose.

“Men like Lamb are the reason that the ICAC Task Force exists.  Lamb epitomizes the type of dangerous predator we hunt.  Even though we deal with this subject matter every day, the Lamb case was particularly horrific to those of us involved.  We learned on the morning of Halloween that Lamb was fantasizing about kidnapping, raping and murdering a child.  Thanks to the quick response by our partners in the ICAC Task Force, we were able to obtain and execute a search warrant at the home that afternoon, a short time before the first trick-or-treaters appeared on the streets of Brevard.  We are very grateful that this case has resolved in such a way that no children were harmed, and a true predator has been removed from that community,” said Special Agent in Charge Flora.

Lamb pleaded guilty in October 2015 to one count of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.     He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was handled by the SBI, the Transylvania Sheriff’s Office and the Asheville Police Department.  These agencies are all members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children.  By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Updated May 19, 2016