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Justice News

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Former Vancouver, Washington Man Pleads Guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography

Plea Agreement Calls For Twelve Year Prison Sentence

A former Vancouver, Washington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  JOSEPH SCHESSO, 36, now of Portland, Oregon, was indicted in May 2011.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, he must be sentenced to twelve years in federal prison, or the plea agreement can be voided and the case could continue to trial.  Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on July 11, 2014.

According to records filed in the case, SCHESSO first came to the attention of authorities when investigators in Germany discovered an individual in the U.S. distributing child pornography through a file-sharing program.  The information was passed from German law enforcement to investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who traced the computer’s internet protocol address to SCHESSO’s residence.  In June 2010, agents executed a search warrant on SCHESSO’s Vancouver home.  Investigators found more than 3,100 images and 500 movie files of child pornography on SCHESSO’s computers.  They also located a media card for a digital camera.  Forensic examination of the media card revealed photos of a young child in sexually explicit poses.  Agents identified furniture and blankets in the photos as items in SCHESSO’s home, and identified the child as one who had visited SCHESSO’s home.

SCHESSO is required to register as a sex offender following his release from prison.  SCHESSO has served almost three years of a 40-month sentence in state court for attempted child molestation.  The 12-year federal prison term begins with the sentencing hearing in July and will run concurrent to the remaining state prison sentence.

The case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci Ellsworth.

Updated March 20, 2015