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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Weyers Cave Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Possession, Receipt of Thousands of Images of Child Pornography

HARRISONBURG, Va. – A Weyers Cave, Virginia man, who was found to be in possession of child pornography after being reported to the FBI, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison.

John Taylor Whittington, 69, pleaded guilty in September 2021, to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.

“When child pornography images are downloaded, shared, or otherwise viewed, it perpetuates the victimization of innocent children,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “These cases are a top priority for our office, and we are grateful for the diligent efforts of our law enforcement partners in helping to bring yet another predator to justice.”

“Through this investigation, the FBI and our partners were able to remove an individual from society who had a careless, disregard for the welfare of these young victims,” Stanley Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division said today. “We are committed to identifying these criminals and holding them accountable; but more importantly we are committed to identifying the young children victimized by these criminals and providing resources to assist them as they heal and grow into adulthood.  If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of child pornography - or you suspect a crime is occurring - please report it to authorities immediately.”

In late 2020, FBI executed a search warrant at Whittington’s home and seized multiple electronic devices including multiple laptops, seven thumb drives, and hundreds of portable storage devices.

A forensic examination of the electronic devices seized from Whittington’s home revealed approximately 4,700 images depicting minor-aged children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  

Whittington admitted that he was attracted to minor-aged females and possessed images of what he knew to be child pornography.  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police, the Augusta County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, and the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Barish Swartz prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood organizes 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated February 16, 2022