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Child Exploitation

Las Vegas man sentenced to 14 years on federal child pornography charges

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas man who possessed more than 1,400 images of child pornography on his home computers was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Steven Byington, 69, who was convicted by a jury June 20 of one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Susan Cushman and Daniel R. Schiess.

"The penalties for this type of crime are very high, particularly when large amounts of pornography are received," said the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Daniel G. Bogden. "We will aggressively prosecute the persons who victimize children through these horrible crimes."

According to court records and evidence introduced at trial, in May 2010 HSI special agents determined that Byington had made child pornography available for download through an Internet file sharing site. Investigators subsequently executed a federal search warrant at Byington's Las Vegas home, seizing four computers, external hard drives and computer storage devices. A forensic analysis determined the computers and equipment contained more than 1,400 images of child pornography, including 13 videos. The images included depictions of prepubescent minors, bondage, bestiality and adult sexual penetration of minors.

The charges are the result of HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators, and Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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.

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. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."