This announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer; U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado; and Special Agent in Charge Kumar Kibble, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Denver.
Gregory Lynn Hopson, 42, of Westminster, Colo., was charged in a 16-count indictment Oct. 24. On Nov. 15, Hopson was brought to federal court for his initial appearance. He is currently serving a sentence at the Colorado Department of Corrections for violating the terms of his probation imposed as a result of a 2000 Boulder County conviction for Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust.
The indictment alleges that Hopson enticed and coerced a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce child pornography. The indictment also alleges that Hopson knowingly transported and shipped child pornography using interstate and foreign commerce. The defendant also allegedly knowingly received child pornography that has been shipped and transported in, and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the indictment alleges that Hopson knowingly possessed a computer disk and other material that contained an image of child pornography.
The indictment contains a special allegation, which describes Hopson's Boulder County conviction and states that the victim in that prior case was less than 12 years old. The victim in this latest case charging Hopson with producing child pornography was less than 17 years old. If proven, this special allegation serves as a sentencing enhancer for the counts in the indictment, subjecting Hopson to stiffer penalties.
Finally, the indictment contains a forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction Hopson must forfeit any and all of his rights, title and interest in the child pornography images, the computer and other media containing child pornography, and any other real or personal property used or intended to be used to commit or promote the commission of the offenses alleged in the indictment.
"Our Operation Predator program in Homeland Security Investigations was specifically established to identify and prosecute individuals like Gregory Hopson, who is accused of particularly heinous allegations of being a repeat sexual predator," said Kibble. "Removing these predators from civilized society makes our communities safer, and gives some degree of justice to their victims." Kibble oversees a four-state area, including Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
"Mr. Hopson allegedly took advantage of a minor for the purpose of producing child pornography," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. "As charged, this conduct represents the very worst in our society. We are determined to continue holding child predators accountable for their crimes."
"Prosecuting those who sexually exploit children in order to produce child pornography is critical not just to put the predator in prison, it is also vital to protect the children who are victims of the production," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "Cases such as this should also serve as a deterrent to others contemplating similar conduct that there are severe consequences – life in prison without the possibility of parole."
If convicted of any of the eight counts of producing child pornography, Hopson faces not less than life in federal prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000, per count. If convicted of any of the two counts of transporting child pornography or the four counts of receiving child pornography, Hopson faces not less than 15 years and not more than 40 years imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $250,000, per count. If convicted of either of the two counts of possessing child pornography, Hopson faces not less than 10 years and not more than 20 years imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $250,000, per count.
This case is being investigated by HSI.
Hopson is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judy Smith and Ryan Bergsieker, and Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section Trial Attorney Keith Becker.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678.