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Child Exploitation

65-year-old Helena, Mont., man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

MISSOULA, Mont. – A 65-year-old Helena resident pleaded guilty Tuesday to receiving child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana.

William Paul Robinson will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Sentencing has been set for March 20. Robinson is currently released on special conditions.

The investigation was conducted by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

  • Law enforcement officers arrested an individual (identified here as X.X.), on an outstanding warrant for failing to register and absconding. He was located at a specific known address in Helena. When arrested, X.X. had a laptop in his possession and reported that "everything you need is right here," indicating the computer. X.X.'s roommate was Robinson. Robinson reported the two met in a chat room and X.X. came from Oregon to live with him in a sexual relationship.
  • Later discussions with Robinson indicated that X.X. had also used Robinson's computer, and he gave consent for special agents to search it for the presence of child pornography.
  • A detective found a child pornography movie almost immediately upon beginning the search.
  • Robinson admitted that the child pornography on the computer was his and that he had been engaged in such activities for a period of time.
  • A search warrant was obtained for Robinson's residence and special agents seized various computer equipment. Subsequent forensic examination revealed hundreds of images and movies of child pornography that Robinson had received via the Internet for years and continuing until the equipment was seized. Robinson possessed images and movies of children clearly prepubescent and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence. Robinson possessed more than 800 still images and about 25 videos of child pornography on his equipment. The computer analysis also revealed that Robinson had distributed child pornography images to others via the Internet.

Robinson faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of five years in prison up to 20 years, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervision.

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-DHS-2ICE 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 (1-800-843-5678).

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative 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.