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Child Exploitation
01/23/2009

Washington state man sentenced in child pornography case

Downloaded images using Google "Hello" program

SEATTLE - A King County, Wash., man was sentenced today in federal court to six years in prison and 20 years of supervised release for possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE).

Nicholas Farmer, 25, of Woodinville, Wash., was found to have more than 1,600 images of child pornography on his computer. He received the images over the Internet using Google's "Hello" photo-sharing program

According to court documents, in 2005, ICE agents were investigating a Cleveland-area man who had sent and received several hundred images of child pornography. One of those he traded images with was a Seattle-area man, whom ICE agents subsequently determined was Nicholas Farmer.

In July 2006, ICE agents served a search warrant at Farmer's residence. A forensic review of Farmer's computer revealed 1,648 digital images of child pornography. In April 2008, Farmer was indicted by a federal grand jury. He pleaded guilty two months later to possession of child pornography.

"Possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime," said Leigh H. Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations. "ICE will continue to dedicate its resources to identify and investigate individuals who seek to exploit children through the collection of these illicit materials."

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney David R. Jennings asked for a substantial prison sentence, saying "There is no question that Farmer spread child pornography to others. He did not passively acquire it, but instead actively acquired it and distributed it to others, thus creating additional harm. Mr. Farmer was prodigious in creating and distributing his collection of pornography."

At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly told Farmer, "You may not realize it, but these victims remain victims for life. Even after they die, their families are victimized by these crimes."

This case was investigated under Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE enforcement initiative targeting those who sexually exploit children. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,600 individuals nationwide.

The public is encouraged to report suspected child predators and suspicious activity by contacting ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; and NCMEC, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.