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Child Exploitation

Des Moines man sentenced to 210 months for producing child pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa - A local man who produced child pornography with an 8-year-old minor was sentenced on Friday to 17 ½ years in prison. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Chad William Cunningham, 33, of Des Moines, was sentenced April 2 by U.S. District Chief Judge Robert W. Pratt, Southern District of Iowa, to 210 months imprisonment for producing child pornography. Cunningham was also ordered to serve ten years of supervised release following his incarceration and pay a crime victim fund assessment of $100.00. Cunningham pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2009.

The investigation into Cunningham was initiated in November 2008 after ICE agents received information that Cunningham was allegedly distributing child pornography to individuals from his home computer. ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Cunningham's residence on Nov. 14, 2008, and seized three laptops, a computer, a hard drive, 51 DVD's and a digital camera. A forensic analysis conducted by ICE revealed more than 50 child pornographic movies. Images found on the digital camera concluded that Cunningham had produced child pornography with an 8-year-old child.

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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,000 individuals.

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.

Investigative assistance was provided by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.