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Child Exploitation

Surry County man sentenced for attempting to receive child pornography

RICHMOND, Va. - Matthew James Russo, 32, of Dendron, Va., was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for the attempted receipt of child pornography following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Russo was found guilty at a bench trial on September 23, 2009. According to evidence presented at trial, in early 2006, Russo attempted to purchase child pornography from a Web site labeling itself "IllegalCP.com" and containing images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

ICE agents in Newark, New Jersey, were monitoring the Web site during that time. Using information from this attempted purchase, ICE agents from the Richmond and Norfolk offices interviewed Russo at his residence and obtained his computer for examination.

A subsequent forensic examination of the computer revealed hundreds of graphic images of children being sexually abused that had been viewed over the Internet during the course of 2007, and dozens of child pornography Web sites marked as "favorites" under the defendant's AOL account. The defendant admitted in a later interview with ICE agents that he had accessed and viewed child pornography Web sites.

Gene Fishel, Special Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.