PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A Panama City man was sentenced Wednesday to 100 months in federal prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Bay County Sheriff's Office (BCSO).
Timothy Sorrell, 63, of Panama City, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 15 and charged with distribution and receipt of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Aug. 17.
Following the prison term, Sorrell will serve 15 years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.
In December 2010, BCSO began an investigation into the downloading of child pornography via the Internet. Files were identified by investigators that contained graphic images of children engaged in sexual activity, some less than 10 years of age.
On Jan. 11, 2011, members of the BCSO Criminal & Special Investigations Division, along with agents from ICE HSI, executed a search warrant at a residence in the Cedar Grove area of Panama City. When entry was made into the home, a computer was found in the process of downloading files of child pornography. Sorrell, the occupant of the home, was taken into custody.
The investigation was part 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.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE and 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.