Waynesville N.C. Man Sentenced To More Than Nine Years On Child Pornography Charges
The Defendant Continued to Access Child Pornography while on Supervised Release
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced yesterday a Waynesville, N.C. man to 114 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Travis Lindsey Mehaffey, 39, was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.
John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division; Sheriff Greg Christopher of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief Bill Hollingsed of the Waynesville Police Department join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, on January 6, 2017, a Walmart shopper in Waynesville found an SD card near a checkout lane. The shopper turned the SD card over to law enforcement, after finding that it contained images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Law enforcement determined that the SD card belonged to Mehaffey. According to court records, forensic analyses of the SD card and other devices that belonged to Mehaffey revealed that the defendant possessed more than 114 videos and 754 images of child pornography, some of which depicted prepubescent minors engaging in sadistic and masochistic or other lewd and lascivious conduct.
Mehaffey pleaded guilty on June 14, 2017, to one count of receipt of child pornography and was released on bond pending sentencing. On September 27, 2017, Mehaffey was arrested for violating the condition of his release that prohibits him from using, purchasing, possessing or otherwise obtaining any computer or electronic device capable of accessing the Internet. According to court records, during a search of Mehaffey’s residence, a United States Probation officer found an unreported cellphone hidden under the defendant’s mattress. Court records indicate that Mehaffey admitted to using the cellphone to view child pornography on the Internet.
Mehaffey is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the FBI, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and the Waynesville Police Department for their investigation of this case.
Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) Christopher Hess prosecuted the case. Mr. Hess is a state prosecutor with the office of the 30th Prosecutorial District assigned as SAUSA to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville. Mr. Hess is duly sworn in both state and federal courts, and prosecutes in federal court cases that impact the counties within the 30th Prosecutorial District.
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