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Child Exploitation

Former Virginia sheriff's deputy sentenced to prison for receiving child pornography

RICHMOND, Va. — John Harlan Mullins, 53, of Henrico County, Va., was sentenced to seven years and 11 months' in prison June 29 by U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to court documents, Mullins, a former Henrico County sheriff's deputy, was detected by HSI special agents after he accessed dozens of child pornography images from a child pornography website. Based on this and other corroborating information, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Mullins' residence, where they seized several computers and computer media. A subsequent forensic examination of the equipment revealed hundreds of child pornography images stored on the computer that the defendant had accessed after visiting child pornography websites. The images portrayed prepubescent children being sexually abused. Many of the children were identified by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, based in Alexandria, Va., as past victims identified in previous law enforcement investigations.

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-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Fishel.