BOISE, Idaho — A Mountain Home man who admitted sexual interactions with at least three children was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 35 years' supervised release for possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Christopher James Swicegood, 22, was found by HSI special agents to be a user of a foreign website used extensively by traders of child pornography. A lead from foreign law enforcement initiated the investigation in January 2013, which uncovered evidence of not only child pornography but actual sexual conduct with children, according to court records.
HSI special agents obtained a search warrant for the home Swicegood shared with others in Mountain Home. On his computer and hard drive investigators found illicit images and videos, among them 230 image files from 57 known child pornography series and 30 videos from 14 separate child pornography series. Swicegood admitted he had posted child pornography on the foreign website and that he had traded child pornography with other users of the website.
In his plea agreement, Swicegood also admitted to sexual interactions, including sexual touching, with at least three different children in the Mountain Home area. He was originally charged in Elmore County with lewd or lascivious acts on a minor under the age of 16. Those charges were dismissed by local prosecutors June 13 as a part of Swicegood's agreement to plead guilty to the federal charge.
The case was investigated by HSI as part of the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho.
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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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. 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.
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.