Lassen County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Offense
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 04, 2013|
SACRAMENTO, CA—Bruce Austin Watkins, 43, of Westwood, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to receipt of child pornography, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, law enforcement executed a search at Watkins’s residence on May 6, 2013. Two laptops and an external hard drive seized from Watkins contained 500 videos and 220 images of child pornography that had been collected by Watkins between January 21, 2007 and April 29, 2013. Among the files collected by Watkins were images showing the violent sexual molestation of children as young as toddlers. At the time of the search, Watkins told law enforcement that he had been looking at child pornography online for 15 to 20 years.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Northern Nevada Child Exploitation Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
Watkins is currently incarcerated at the Sacramento County Jail.
Watkins is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton on February 25, 2014. Watkins faces a maximum statutory penalty of not less than five years and up to 20 years in prison, a lifetime period of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing Project Safe Childhood initiative which was launched to increase federal prosecutions of sexual predators of children and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking. As a part of PSC, the United States Attorney’s Office has teamed with state and local agencies and organizations to increase law enforcement presence on the Internet and to educate the public about safe Internet use, thereby reducing the risk that children might fall prey to online sexual predators. For additional information on the PSC initiative, please go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.