U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina
(704) 344-6222
August 11, 2015

Charlotte Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years on Child Pornography Charges

CHARLOTTE, NC—Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced today Justin Vang, 28, of Charlotte, to 151 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Vang was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division joins Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to court records, between March and May 2013, Vang did knowingly receive visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. A forensic examination of Vang’s seized computer revealed that the defendant possessed 20 videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including children under the age of 12.

In handing down Vang’s sentence, Judge Whitney described the videos as “heinous.” Judge Whitney also acknowledged the pain and suffering of the victims, stating “The victims of child pornography are not just victimized one time, they are victimized hundreds and thousands of times.” Judge Whitney added that the circumstances of the offense are reprehensible.

Vang pleaded guilty in March 2015 to one count of receiving child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

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In a separate case, on Monday, August 10, 2015, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced Byron Boswell Hess, IV, 48, of Charlotte, to 60 months in prison, a life time of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender. According to filed documents, in or about February 2014, Hess did knowingly possess and access with intent to view images depicting child pornography that involved prepubescent minors. Hess pleaded guilty in March 2015 to one count of possession of child pornography and has been in federal custody since January 2015.

Both cases were investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cortney E. Randall handled the prosecution of both cases.

The cases were 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 (CEOS), 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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