LAKE CHARLES, La. – A Louisiana man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Thursday after pleading guilty to receiving more than 1,200 child pornography images. The sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Lake Charles Police Department.
According to court documents, on July 12, 2012, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at the home of David Shelton, 35. They discovered 1,292 images and approximately 80 videos containing child pornography that Shelton downloaded from the file-sharing service E-Mule. Some of the images contained sadistic prepubescent child pornography.
"Child pornography distributors enable the re-victimization of innocent children who have already experienced horrific abuse," said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. "These predators do severe damage to our society, and HSI will continue to investigate and seek prosecution wherever these criminals may be found."
Parmer oversees a five state area-of-operations to include Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
"The individual in this case used his computer to download images of abused children," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Stephanie Finley. "His actions contributed to a worldwide trade of such material. Our office will not stop prosecuting those who download images and videos depicting abuse of children. This case should send a clear message that there are serious consequences for this type of criminal activity."
In addition to 20 years in federal prison, U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi sentenced Shelton to a lifetime of supervised release following the completion of his sentence.
Shelton pleaded guilty April 11.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Walker prosecuted this case.
The 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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.