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Child Exploitation

Virginia man sentenced to 12 years for receipt of child pornography

NORFOLK, Va. - A man from Chesapeake, Va., was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for receipt of child pornography. This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

"This significant sentence exemplifies the harsh consequences for those who sexually exploit innocent children," said John P. Torres, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Washington, D.C. "HSI and our domestic and international law enforcement partners are committed to protecting our communities from those who prey on our children."

According to court documents, ICE HSI agents initially approached Josef Hunter, 31, in September 2008. Hunter gave consent for ICE to search and seize computers and other electronic storage media from his residence in Chesapeake. A computer forensic analysis of Hunter's computers and other media revealed hundreds of thousands of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Some of those images depicted prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity with adults and sadistic and masochistic conduct involving the children. Hunter previously pled guilty to the charge on June 17, 2010.

Hunter was identified through "Operation Joint Hammer," the U.S. component of an ongoing global enforcement operation targeting transnational rings of child pornographers. Operation Joint Hammer was initiated through evidence developed by European law enforcement and shared with U.S. counterparts by Europol and Interpol. The European portion of this global enforcement effort, "Operation Koala," was launched after the discovery of the activities of several people in Europe who were abusing children and producing photographs of the abuse for commercial gain. Further investigation unveiled a number of online child pornography rings.

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 can also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.