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Child Exploitation
01/17/2013

Sex offender caught with more than 30,000 child pornography images sentenced

Former Costco food demonstrator took photos of little girls shopping at the store

SEATTLE — A 51-year-old convicted sex offender was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gregory Sean O'Neall, of Des Moines, Wash., was arrested in June 2012 after he came to the attention of HSI special agents because of his postings to a file sharing website. Investigators were able to link an Internet protocol address used to share sexually explicit images of children to O'Neall. When he pleaded guilty to the charges last September, O'Neall admitted to possessing over 30,000 images of child pornography.

The HSI investigation also revealed O'Neall posted several photo albums online, including more than 100 photos of young girls taken surreptitiously. Some of the photos were taken while the girls shopped with their families at retail stores. Prior to his arrest, O'Neall worked as a food sample demonstrator at the Costco store in Federal Way. Some of the photos appear to have been taken at that store.

O'Neall is a registered sex offender based upon a 1991 criminal conviction in Texas for molesting a 6-year-old girl who was left in his care. In asking for a 135-month sentence prosecutors wrote to the court: "A substantial period of imprisonment is the only effective means to protect our community from the defendant, and it is also a fitting and just sanction for the harm he has caused."

In addition to his prison term, O'Neall was sentenced to lifetime supervised release including sex offender treatment and the use of special software to monitor his computer. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.