Cross Plains Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Distributing Child Pornography
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jake Blankenheim, 48, of Cross Plains, Wisconsin was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 7 years in federal prison, followed by 12 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to this charge on April 15, 2022.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered Blankenheim’s online distribution of child pornography after receiving information that he shared photos of child pornography with an undercover officer on Gigatribe, an online peer-to-peer file sharing network. Agents executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home, where they located two computer hard drives containing additional files of child pornography. A forensic examination of those hard drives revealed that Blankenheim possessed over 3,000 photos and videos of child pornography, including files that depicted the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers. The examination also revealed that he had traded and discussed child pornography on Gigatribe for several years.
In sentencing Blankenheim, Judge Peterson reasoned a sentence above the 5-year mandatory minimum was warranted because of the length of time the defendant was involved in the trading and viewing of child pornography. Judge Peterson noted that the defendant’s recirculation of child pornography has real consequences for the victims in those images, who continue to suffer harm as images of their abuse are further shared.
The charge against Blankenheim was the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Swiss National Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor L. Kraus prosecuted this case.