SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A southeastern South Dakota man was sentenced in federal court Monday to more than 15 years in prison for trafficking in child pornography.
The sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in cooperation with the Sioux Falls Police Department.
Shawn E. Stevens, 26, of Corsica, S.D., was sentenced March 4 to 188 months in federal prison and five years supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Stevens was indicted on one count each of receipt and distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography by a federal grand jury Dec. 6, 2011. He entered a guilty plea Nov. 15 to the receiving and distributing charge.
The conviction stems from a tip that led law enforcement to a search of several computers and external hard drives Stevens owned. The search revealed computer files that contained numerous images and video clips of child pornography. Stevens admitted to receiving and distributing these files between October 2009 and March 2011.
This 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.