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Child Exploitation

Maine man sentenced to over 12 years in prison for possession of child pornography

BANGOR, Maine — A Maine man was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison, to be followed by lifetime of supervised release, for possession of child pornography. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Walter Arthur Mosher Jr., 65, of Hampden, Maine, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. Mosher pleaded guilty to the charge June 11, 2012, and has been detained in federal custody since his arrest March 20, 2012.

According to court records, Mosher used a peer-to-peer file sharing network to download child pornography. When approached by HSI special agents, Mosher admitted to having downloaded child pornography.

The investigation arose from information sent by the National Centre for Combating Pedophilia Online located within the Italian State Police Postal and Communication Service to HSI's Cyber Crimes Center in Virginia. Italian authorities had identified a website that was offering access to images of child pornography.

A federal search warrant was executed for that website and evidence was obtained reflecting that an Internet protocol address assigned to the defendant was used to access images of child pornography on that website. A federal search warrant was subsequently executed at Mosher's residence and a computer with images of child pornography was seized.

Mosher's sentence was enhanced because of prior convictions for gross sexual misconduct, unlawful sexual contact and sexual exploitation of a minor. These convictions involved numerous minors ranging in age from three to 14 for which Mosher previously received sentences of five and 18 years.

Mosher was also convicted in 2012 in Maine State Court in Aroostook County of gross sexual assault by a repeat sexual assault offender, for which he is awaiting sentencing. Mosher is a Maine lifetime sex offender registrant.

"Walter Mosher, Jr. already demonstrated that he posed a threat to the most vulnerable members of our communities, our children," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. Foucart oversees HSI throughout New England. "It's a horrifying fact that by obtaining child pornography over the Internet, offenders like Mosher effectively sentence those depicted to a lifetime of victimization. Thanks to the hard work and determination of HSI special agents and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maine, that threat has now been removed. HSI and our law enforcement partners in Maine will continue to aggressively target child predators who are involved in any form of perpetuating these heinous crimes."

This investigation is 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.

The investigation was conducted by HSI with assistance from the Bangor and Hampden Police Departments.