JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - William Joseph McCarthy, 57, of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., was sentenced Wednesday to six years in federal prison for receiving child pornography over the Internet, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents with the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. also ordered the forfeiture of McCarthy's Jacksonville Beach residence, where he had downloaded and collected the pornography from the Internet, and further required McCarthy to register as a sex offender.
McCarthy had pleaded guilty on March 11.
"This case demonstrates that there are serious consequences for receiving illegal images of innocent children being sexually exploited and traumatized," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa, which oversees the Jacksonville office. "Through our partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, ICE will continue to police cyber space to investigate predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law."
According to court documents, ICE special agents and officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office conducted a search for individuals who were trading images of child pornography using a particular Internet file sharing program. They traced a file of child pornography available for downloading or "sharing" to a particular Internet Protocol (IP) address that was registered to McCarthy at his Jacksonville Beach home.
On Feb. 4, 2009, the law enforcement agents executed a federal search warrant at McCarthy's residence. They made contact with McCarthy, who admitted having downloaded sexually explicit images of children. McCarthy denied having any "desire to go pursue kids," but said that he found the child pornography images "different," "not allowed" and "exciting." He said that he had been using the targeted file sharing program to download child pornography for several years and that he probably had been looking at child pornography for about four years. He said that he had viewed images with children as young as those "in diapers."
Agents seized a sophisticated network of computers from McCarthy's residence that McCarthy had been built to enhance the computers' memory and capacity. McCarthy's computers contained approximately 60,875 images and 649 videos depicting child pornography. Forensic analysis showed that McCarthy had downloaded numerous images and videos from the Internet using Internet file sharing programs.
Several of the images and videos of child pornography that McCarthy received and possessed portray sadistic conduct.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys D. Rodney Brown and Bonnie A. Glober.
The investigation was part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than12,800 individuals through Operation Predator.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
This case is also part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 that is designed to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U. S. Attorney's Offices and DOJ's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information on Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.