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Child Exploitation
02/19/2010

Seattle man sentenced to federal prison on child pornography charges

SEATTLE - A Seattle man was sentenced today to five years in prison and 15 years of supervised release for possessing and transporting child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Joshua Osmun Kennedy, 33, was convicted of the charges in August 2009 following a jury trial. He had been employed by the Pacific Maritime Association as a longshoreman.

The investigation into Kennedy began in November 2007 when he was returning from a trip to Panama. While attempting to clear customs at SeaTac Airport, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector noticed that Kennedy's laptop contained child pornography.

ICE agents later conducted a forensic analysis of Kennedy's computer and discovered he had repeatedly accessed and downloaded multiple images of child pornography from the Internet. In an attempt to conceal the illegal images, Kennedy stored them in a folder named "Taxes2003."

Further analysis of the laptop's hard drive resulted in the discovery of more than 5,000 images of child pornography downloaded from the Internet. Investigators were able to conclude that Kennedy repeatedly viewed the same Web site more than 40 times in the early morning or late at night during a two-year period.

Evidence presented at trial revealed that Kennedy had last accessed the website while on vacation in Panama, four days before his computer was seized. The evidence also showed that Kennedy had deliberately deleted his browser's cache files several days before his return to the United States.

"Those who seek to sexually exploit children should no longer expect distance or the anonymity of cyberspace to shield them," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Seattle. "Protecting children is a high priority for ICE and we will continue to identify these child predators and bring them to justice."

At Friday's sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones told the defendant, "The people who produce child pornography tailor their production to the market. With no market, there is no industry. You and your fraternity of people who possess and transport child pornography keep this industry alive."

This case was the result of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals under Operation Predator.

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.