ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A former member of the U.S. Army stationed in Alaska was sentenced in federal court Thursday to six years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for possessing child pornography. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Vincent Lee Evans, 30, of Fort Richardson, Alaska, became the target of an ICE HSI investigation following a referral from the German police in the state of Baden-Württemberg. German investigators provided evidence that Evans was using the Internet's peer-to-peer capabilities for illicit child pornography purposes.
In October 2009 when ICE HSI agents interviewed Evans, he told them that he had been collecting child pornography since 2004. He also admitted to knowingly possessing the illegal images and storing the materials on an external hard drive.
Subsequent forensic examination of Evan's electronic storage devices revealed hundreds of images and videos depicting children being sexually abused. When ICE HSI agents again contacted Evans in September 2010 regarding the images, Evans admitted to collecting and storing more child pornography on a recently purchased computer and external storage device.
"The defendant in this case viewed his collection of child pornography as a hobby, ignoring the harm, abuse and sexual exploitation of the children depicted in the images," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office that includes Alaska. "We are grateful for the relationships we have with our international law enforcement partners who provided the lead in this case that resulted in removing this child predator from the community."
During the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle G. French cited an August report to Congress that law enforcement is seeing more violent as well as more prepubescent children and infant victims in child pornography. French also emphasized the need to impose a sentence that helps deter other child pornography collectors from driving the demand for the creation and dissemination of materials depicting toddlers being sexually abused.
U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick stated that possessing child pornography is a very serious crime and the consequences are substantial. In addition to the prison sentence and term of supervised release, Judge Sedwick will require Evans to participate in sex offender treatment, and restrict his use of computers and contact with children under 18 years of age.
"Children whose sexual abuse is captured in images and videos suffer not just from the abuse graphically memorialized in the images, but also from a separate victimization, knowing that the images of that abuse are accessible, usually on the Internet, and are traded by other offenders who receive sexual gratification from the children's distress," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Karen L. Loeffler.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.