MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man was sentenced Thursday to five years in federal prison for distributing child pornography through online chatrooms.
This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Brooker, District of Minnesota. This case resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Joshua Noble, 39, was charged by felony information on April 17, 2017, and pleaded guilty on June 29, 2013, to one count of distributing child pornography. Noble was sentenced Nov. 2 before Judge Ann D. Montgomery. He was also sentenced to 10 year term of supervised release, $26,000 in restitution to the victims, and he must pay a $5,000 special assessment to the Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, Noble was a substitute teacher in Fergus Falls, Minn., for about 15 years. On March 4, 2016, undercover law enforcement officers observed Noble using an internet-based messaging service called Chatstep.com to obtain and distribute images depicting the sexual abuse of children. Noble possessed at least 244 such images, including depictions of prepubescent children under 12 years of age and infants and toddlers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Miranda E. Dugi, District of Minnesota, prosecuted this case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.