INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for distributing child pornography, announced Josh J. Minkler, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Hamilton County Metro Child Exploitation Task Force.
Brandon Tooley, 33, of Kokomo, was sentenced Sept. 18 to 72 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
"This office initiated Operation Community Watch over two years ago with an unwavering resolve to find and prosecute those who exploit our children," Minkler said. "You are not anonymous online and if you engage in this type of behavior, you will be held accountable.
On Oct. 2, 2013, a federal search warrant was executed on Tooley's Yahoo! Inc. email account. HSI agents discovered emails distributed and received by Tooley that were determined to contain image and video files of child pornography. Two days later, agents acting in an undercover capacity made contact over Yahoo! Messenger with Tooley. During that conversation, Tooley distributed an image to the agents of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
On Oct. 7, 2013, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Tooley's residence and located an HP desktop computer in the living room of the residence next to a television wthat was being used as a monitor for the computer. A forensic analysis of the HP desktop computer revealed about 45 videos and more than 100 images of child pornography.
"Those who trade child pornography over the Internet mistakenly believe that cyberspace shields them from detection by law enforcement," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge for HSI Chicago. "However, as this sentence makes abundantly clear, child sex predators will be caught, prosecuted, and handed the justice they deserve for their despicable actions."
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum, who prosecuted this case for the government, Tooley faces 10 years of supervised release after serving his sentence.
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.