U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
(916) 554-2700
July 27, 2015

Kern County Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Child Pornography Offenses

FRESNO, CA—Thomas Bettis, 54, of Tehachapi, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to 15 years in prison for receiving and distributing child pornography, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between January and March 2013, Bettis received and distributed more than 600 images and video files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct as attachments to e-mail messages. The illicit files also involved the portrayal of sadistic, masochistic, and other depictions of violence, and included depictions of pre-pubescent minors. Bettis was charged with receiving and distributing child pornography on September 4, 2014, and pleaded guilty to this charge on January 12, 2015.

“Collecting and trading child pornography is a crime perpetrated by individuals who steal children’s innocence and share the obscene content with others who often, as is the case with Thomas Bettis, also have sexually abused children,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Manuel Alvarez of the FBI’s Sacramento field office. “The FBI is committed to working with the public, its law enforcement partners, National Center for Mission and Exploited Children, and the U.S. Attorney’s office, to locate individuals who prey upon our children.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Brian W. Enos is prosecuting the case.

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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.

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