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Press Release

Fort Bliss Army Sergeant Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Receipt of Approximately 200 Videos of Child Pornography

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

On Friday afternoon, a federal judge in El Paso sentenced Stephen Thurwanger, a 36–year-old U.S. Army sergeant at Fort Bliss in El Paso, to 20 years in federal prison for receipt of approximately 200 videos of child pornography announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez, El Paso Division.

In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Frank Montalvo ordered that Thurwanger pay $8,500 restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term.

On May 20, 2015, Thurwanger pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography.  According to court records, on October 20, 2014, HSI Cyber Crimes Group agents together with officers from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Thurwanger’s residence and seized various items including laptop computers, cell phones, and digital media storage devices. The child pornography was discovered during a subsequent forensics examination of the seized items.

Thurwanger has remained in federal custody since his arrest on October 20, 2014.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations together with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Hanna prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

This 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, 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 August 10, 2015

Project Safe Childhood