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Press Release

Federal Judge Hands Down 15-Year Sentence To Boone, N.C. Man On Child Pornography Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

STATESVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced today Timothy Scott Hardin, 44, of Boone, N.C. to 180 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for receiving child pornography, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Judge Bell also ordered Alexander to register as a sex offender following his release from prison.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on October 6, 2016, the Boone Police Department became aware that an individual, later identified as Hardin, was receiving child pornography over the internet. Hardin’s child pornography collection included multiple images and videos depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including images and videos depicting the rape of prepubescent girls.  According to court records, when law enforcement attempted to arrest Hardin at his residence, Hardin pulled a handgun from the waistband of his pants.  After a brief struggle with law enforcement over the firearm, Hardin was incapacitated.  Court records show that Hardin later told law enforcement that his plan had been to point his gun at the arresting officer and to force law enforcement to kill him.

In January 2019, Hardin pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.  In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Boone Police Department for their investigation of this case. 

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Yesterday, Judge Bell sentenced Joshua Dane Keener, 33, of Hickory, N.C. to 14 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for receiving visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. 

According to court records, following a complaint from a concerned citizen, law enforcement initiated an investigation into Keener, and discovered that Keener was receiving child pornography from an individual located in South Africa.  While Keener was being investigated for this case, law enforcement discovered that he was also communicating via messaging applications with a 14-year-old minor female in Indiana.  During these conversations, Keener requested and received videos of the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  Law enforcement arrested Keener at a hotel in Hickory. Law enforcement found in Keener’s home sexually explicit videos and images of child pornography, including videos and images of toddlers. 

In February 2019, Keenan pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. 

U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Charlotte, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for their work on this case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cortney Randall, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, handled both prosecutions.

Both cases were 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 mars060hals 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 July 18, 2019

Project Safe Childhood