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Press Release

Cleveland County Man Is Sentenced to 11+ Years In Prison For Receipt of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Defendant Is also Prohibited from Entering Crowders Mountain State Park

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A Cleveland County man has been sentenced to 135 months in prison today for receipt of child pornography, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Quinlan Drake Scism, Jr., 21, of Kings Mountain, N.C. was also ordered to serve a lifetime under court supervision and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison, and to pay $35,000 in restitution to child pornography victims and a $5,000 special assessment.

Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, and Sheriff Alan Norman of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office join Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, the FBI became aware that an individual, later identified as Scism, was using a file sharing program on the dark web to receive child pornography. On September 23, 2019, the FBI executed a search warrant at Scism’s residence, seizing a thumb drive and a computer. The following day, while he was being interviewed at the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Scism acknowledged that he viewed and downloaded child pornography from the internet and admitted to attempting to conceal his online activity on his cell phone when he learned about the FBI’s investigation. Scism also admitted that, as a teenager, he sexually abused a minor female. According to court records, a forensic examination of Scism’s seized devices revealed that he possessed 959 images and 48 videos of child pornography, some of which depicted sadistic and masochistic acts against prepubescent children.

During the time law enforcement were conducting the child pornography investigation into Scism, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by park rangers with Crowders Mountain State Park concerning unusual activity and behavior exhibited by Scism while he was at the park. Court records show that, on at least two occasions, Scism was observed hiding in or leaving the women’s restrooms at the park. Due to his behavior, Crowders Mountain State Park sent a letter to Scism prohibiting him from entering the park.

On September 11, 2020, Scism pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and he will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. 

In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer commended the FBI and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation of this case.

The prosecution for the government was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville.         

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. 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


Updated April 22, 2021