Ryan Christopher Lynn, 22, received the lengthy prison term in part because of a court imposed sentencing enhancement for depictions of "vulnerable victims," which included videos depicting sex acts between minors and animals, bondage and other violent images.
The case is the result of an investigation by the Fresno Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.
"People who download and possess child pornography are truly putting the world's youth at risk," said Brian Poulsen, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Fresno. "The images possessed by the defendant in this case included scenes involving real children who were being sexually abused and exploited in horrific ways. ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to target those who commit these types of crimes and see that they are brought to justice."
According to prosecutors, Lynn was targeted for investigation in the spring of 2008 because he appeared to be making a large number of images of known child pornography available through a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. When agents executed a search warrant at Lynn's residence in May 2008, they discovered his laptop computer. A forensic analysis of that computer revealed approximately 175 video and 100 still images of child pornography.
The defendant claimed at his trial that he never knowingly received, possessed or distributed any images of child pornography. He also denied he had engaged in sexually charged Internet chat discussions with a girl he believed to be 15 years old. When confronted with that evidence at trial, he claimed his Internet account had been hacked, a claim that was refuted with forensic evidence from his own computer. The court enhanced the defendant's sentence for obstruction of justice, because he gave false testimony at his trial.
Lynn was convicted in March on one count of receipt or distribution of child pornography and he was remanded into custody on that date.
The charges against Lynn are the result of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood (PSC) and ICE's Operation Predator, initiatives designed to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. PCS was launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to marshal federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.
Operation Predator is an ongoing 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 1-866-347-2423. 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.