United States Attorney Ritz Celebrates Funding Awarded for Legal Services and Improved Court Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence
Jackson, TN – After a 3-day jury trial with proper COVID-19 health and safety protocols,William Farrell Russell, 47, has been found guilty of possession and distribution of child pornography depicting the sexual abuse of children under twelve years of age. D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney announced the guilty verdict today.
According to information presented in Court, investigators with the Faulkner County, Arkansas, Sheriff’s Department learned that a user of the Kik instant messaging service was distributing child pornography under the screen name "funfortaboo." The investigators assumed undercover identities and began communicating with funfortaboo in late June 2016. Between July 1 and July 7, 2016, funfortaboo distributed to the undercover investigators images of child sexual abuse. The Faulkner County, Arkansas investigators and members of the FBI Project Safe Childhood Task Force for the Western District of Tennessee, identified "funfortaboo" as William Farrell Russell, who was then living in Cedar Grove, TN.
On July 28, 2016, members of the FBI Project Safe Childhood Task Force executed a search warrant at Russell's Cedar Grove home, and recovered the cellular telephone that Russell had used to distribute the child sexual abuse materials. On that telephone, Russell possessed hundreds of images and videos of child sexual abuse, including the images that he had distributed to the undercover officers under the screen name funfortaboo.
That same day, July 28, 2016, Russell waived his Miranda rights and admitted to using the cellular telephone to communicate with and send photographs to the undercover officers.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2021, before Chief U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson. Russell faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of the indictment, and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Child pornography is an abhorrent offense that scars the children affected forever. And it doesn’t take an economist to know that demand drives supply. By repeatedly distributing hundreds of images and videos of young children being sexually abused, Russell contributed to their past victimization. And by fueling the demand for child pornography, his conduct likely also contributed to the future harm done to children in the name of profit. This office will always aggressively prosecute and seek significant and mandatory sentences for such depraved and predatory behavior in order to protect children and hold offenders accountable."
The FBI Project Safe Childhood Task Force and Faulkner County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Allen and Lauren Delery are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.