INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man was sentenced Monday to more than eight years in prison after pleading guilty to receiving child pornography, announced Joseph H. Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Jasper (Indiana) Police Department.
Kurtis Head, 32, of Jasper, was convicted of 12 counts of receiving child pornography. He was sentenced July 8 to 97 months in federal prison by U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Young.
Hogsett said this case was part of a recent initiative of his office, Operation Community Watch, a new effort aimed at reducing the abuse of children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
"These cases are always difficult, both as a prosecutor and as a parent," Hogsett said. "But they are important, not just to ensure the safety of Hoosier children, but also to send a message that we will not tolerate such behavior in our communities. You are not anonymous online – if you engage in this activity, you will be found, and held accountable."
According to court documents, Head was arrested after a collaborative investigation that involved HSI and the Jasper Police Department. Detectives connected to a computer online that was sharing images and videos of child pornography. That activity was then traced to an apartment in Jasper. In July 2013 a federal search warrant was executed at the residence.
As a result of this search, law enforcement located a hard drive that contained thousands of images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct. In addition, Head also faces state charges for sexually abusing a girl about two years ago.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Wheatley, who prosecuted this case, Head faces 10 years of supervised release after he completes his sentence.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.