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Child Exploitation

Former police sergeant sentenced to more than 4 years for possession of child pornography

TAMPA, Fla. – A former Tampa Police Department sergeant was sentenced Wednesday to four years and nine months in federal prison for possessing child pornography. The sentencing resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

On May 11, 2011, HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at the residence of Jonathan Gamson, 53, which permitted them to preview a computer at the residence, but not seize it. The Internet history on the computer revealed that it had been used to view multiple websites containing child pornography.

On May 20, 2011, HSI special agents executed a second search warrant at the residence to seize the computer. The computer had been moved from Gamson's home office to his garage, and the hard drive had been removed. Gamson told the special agents that he had thrown the hard drive away, claiming he was concerned that someone could hack into his computer using his unsecured wireless Internet connection.

At the time of the search, Gamson was employed as a sergeant with the Tampa Police Department.

As part of his sentencing, the court ordered Gamson to forfeit a computer and external hard drive used in the offense.

Gamson pleaded guilty Feb. 4.

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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.