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Child Exploitation

Kentucky child pornographer sentenced to 60 years in prison

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A Hardyville man who had nearly 1,000 images of child pornography on his computer – including sexually explicit movies of a young girl that he produced himself – was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in federal prison. This lengthy sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jason Hawkins, 30, of Hardyville, Ky., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., Western District of Kentucky, for transporting, receiving, possessing and producing child pornography. Hawkins was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release following his incarceration. There is no parole in the federal judicial system.

On Oct. 30, 2006, an undercover detective of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police logged on to Google Hello and was contacted within a few seconds by Hawkins. During the chat conversation, Hawkins sent the undercover detective ten images of child pornography. The Canadian Police subsequently contacted ICE and a search warrant was obtained for Hawkins' computer.

During a forensic search of Hawkins' computer and hard drives, ICE agents identified approximately 9,949 images as being suspected child pornography. Of those images, 6,954 images were matched for images identified as child pornography or images identified through databases maintained by the National Child Victim Identification Program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and others. Twelve images depicted bondage scenes and two images depicted children in bestiality scenes. The ages of the children depicted appeared to range from infants to 14 years of age. The images primarily consisted of young female and/or male children posing nude and engaging in sexually explicit acts and rape with other children and/or adults.

Approximately 456 movie files were identified as being suspected child pornography. Of these, 56 were previously identified child pornography movies maintained by the National Child Victim Identification Program, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and others. The length of these movie files ranged from a few seconds to over 50 minutes long.

ICE agents also seized cameras located in Hawkins' bedroom that contained stored images on a digital media card. Each of these movies depicted one or two small girls, approximately 3 to 5 years of age. Most of the movies include the producer's hand, which repeatedly touches the girl's genitalia.

Additionally, four movies were identified that appeared to have been filmed in a hotel room. Each depicted the exposed buttocks and genitalia of a girl, approximately five years of age. A hand appearsin each movie that touches the girl genitals. Hawkins admitted that he produced this child pornography.

The sexual exploitation and abuse of a child is one of the most heinous acts imaginable,” said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. “ICE will continue to work in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office and our local law enforcement partners to protect our communities from sexual predators. Simply put, we have an obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Madison T. Sewell and was investigated by ICE and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

This case was investigated as part of Operation Predator, which is a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock.

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 www.cybertipline.com.