U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland
(410) 209-4800
February 25, 2015

Towson Man Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography

BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Nicholas Haxall Johnson, age 24, of Towson, Maryland, today to 42 months in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for possessing child pornography. Judge Quarles ordered that upon his release from prison, Johnson must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to his plea agreement, in September 2013, a Baltimore County Police detective who was using a computer observed that Johnson had files containing child pornography available for download on the Internet. The investigator downloaded approximately 150 image files, many of which contained child pornography.

On October 4, 2013, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Johnson’s residence. They seized Johnson’s laptop and external hard drive which contained more than 250,000 images, the majority of which depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Hundreds of prescription pills, including Adderall and Ritalin pills, were recovered from a safe, along with a glass pipe, plastic baggies, drugs and three grinders.

Further investigation of Johnson’s computer revealed that he created an online persona of a 15-year old male which he used to communicate with 13 and 14-year old girls. Johnson discussed sexual topics with the young girls and encouraged them to send him nude photos of themselves.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, HSI Baltimore, Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

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