St. Johns County Man Pleads Guilty to Receiving Child Pornography Over the Internet
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 03, 2014|
JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Christopher Scott O’Brien, II (23, St. Johns) yesterday pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography over the Internet. O’Brien faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years, up to 20 years in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervision. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Jacksonville began an undercover investigation to identify individuals in that area who had access to and/or were trading images and videos depicting child pornography over the Internet. The agent determined that a host computer in the area was hosting images of child pornography using a particular peer-to-peer file sharing program. The agent made successful connections to the host computer and successfully downloaded several video files depicting child pornography directly from the host computer. Further investigation revealed that the subscriber information traced back to O’Brien’s residence in St. Johns, Florida.
On February 26, 2013, FBI agents and other officers executed a search warrant at O’Brien’s residence and seized, among other things, several computers and other items of electronic media. O’Brien was at the residence and told the agents that he uses the same file sharing program as the one detected by the undercover agent. He stated that he only downloads videos and believed that he had four or five videos of child pornography on his computer, which he repeatedly watched and saved. He added that the children depicted in his collection of child pornography ranged from 8 to 15 years of age.
A subsequent analysis of O’Brien’s computer revealed that it contained approximately 838 videos, at least 50 of which depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This case was investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another 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.