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Child Exploitation

Louisville man sentenced to 8 years in prison for possessing child pornography

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A 43-year-old local resident was sentenced here Friday to eight years and one month in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography. This significant sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Danny Lee Phillips, of 5315 Oakcreek Lane, was sentenced July 25 by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III to 97 months imprisonment for receiving and possessing child pornography, including 20 years supervised release. Phillips had previously pleaded guilty to the charges on March 21.

ICE agents executed a federal search warrant Oct. 17, 2007 at Phillips' Louisville residence. During the search, Phillips stated he frequently used his laptop computer for email and online purchases, including purchasing pictures of young girls over the Internet. Based on a previous investigation that included billing records, ICE agents had information indicating that Phillips had purchased access to a child pornography website in December 2006. Phillips stated that he could have purchased access to one of the websites, and that the payment screen looked familiar.

When asked if he possessed any images or videos depicting child pornography, Phillips responded, "Yes, saved in 'My Pictures' folder." Phillips further stated he never created his own child pornographic images. He claimed to have acquired all his child pornography by paying for access to websites or by trading with others using Yahoo Messenger, specifically images of 12- to 15-year-old girls displaying their genitalia.

Phillips told the agents conducting the search that they would find several CDs containing child pornographic pictures in his bedroom closet. A search of Phillips's bedroom closet revealed numerous recordable CDs. Agents also discovered about two dozen girls' panties and various sexual lubricants next to the CDs.

Prior to departing the residence, ICE agents previewed three CDs located in Phillips' bedroom closet and found each disk depicted images of child pornography. Phillips confirmed that he had downloaded the images from Internet pay sites. ICE agents seized the CDs, computers, digital camera, a camcorder, and other electronic-storage media.

"The sexually exploited victims of child pornography are devastated from these experiences throughout their lives," said Jerry Phillips, resident agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Louisville. "This prison sentence brings some justice to the innocent victims of these crimes."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jo E. Lawless, Western District of Kentucky, prosecuted this case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, 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 nationwide.

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 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 www.cybertipline.com.