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Child Exploitation
06/06/2018

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Montana woman sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for producing child pornography

Her common-law husband was previously sentenced to nearly 42 years in federal prison in this same investigation

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana woman was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in federal prison for producing and receiving child pornography.  Her common-law husband was previously sentenced to nearly 42 years in federal prison related to this same investigation.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme, District of Montana.  This case was a cooperative investigation between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Cascade County (Montana) Sheriff’s Office.  Both agencies are members of the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Michelle Andra Joyner, 46, from Dearborn, Montana, was sentenced June 6 by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, to 300 months in federal prison and 10 years of supervised release.

Joyner pleaded guilty plea to sexually exploiting children (so that she could produce child pornography).  Her common-law spouse, Timothy Weaver, was sentenced in federal court May 29.  Weaver was imprisoned for 500 months for his role in the crimes.  Joyner and Weaver sexually exploited a child.  The case stemmed from a Cascade County Sheriff’s Office child sex abuse investigation that began in August 2016.  The Sheriff’s Office searched digital devices and determined that Joyner and Weaver sexually abused a child for a number of years and took images of the abuse.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson, District of Montana.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that Joyner will likely serve all the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Joyner can earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction cannot exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

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-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/16/2018