RUTLAND, Vt. — A Newport man was sentenced Thursday to 60 months in prison for receiving child pornography, following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
John Kuhl, 42, must also serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence and register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction in which he lives, works or attends school.
According to the court records, Kuhl gave a cell phone to a female minor and coerced her to take explicit photographs of herself and send them to him. A forensic examination of Kuhl's telephone revealed the existence of the photographs. Law enforcement began investigating this incident after they learned Kuhl inappropriately touched four other minors during a boat trip in Newport.
"Child predatory crimes cannot be tolerated in our communities," said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "These heinous crimes cause irreparable damage to our children and society. HSI will continue to aggressively pursue those who commit such crimes until justice is served."
The Newport Police Department and the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force also participated in this case.
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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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. 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.
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.