FBI Credits Undercover Investigation of Computer File-Sharing Program
Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that on January 6, 2011, THOMAS E. LOWERY, age 63, of East Alton, Illinois, was sentenced in the United States District Court in East St. Louis for possession of child pornography (count 1), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B); receipt of child pornography (count 2), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2); and possession of obscene materials (count 3), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1462. LOWERY pled guilty to the three offenses on June 23, 2010. LOWERY received 120 months’ imprisonment on count 1, 151 months’ imprisonment on count 2, and 120 months’ imprisonment on count 3, to run concurrently, for a total sentence of 151 months’ imprisonment; supervised release for life on counts 1 and 2 and for three years on count 3, to run concurrently, for a total lifetime term of supervised release; fined $100 on each count for a total fine of $300; and ordered to pay a $300 special assessment.
The violations took place from on or about August 28, 2008, until on or about April 22, 2009, in Madison County, Illinois. The investigation of LOWERY began after three separate FBI undercover investigations from August 19, 2008, through November 24, 2008, involving Limewire, revealed that the defendant’s IP address was associated with offering files to share that contained images of child pornography. Based on this information, the FBI obtained a federal search warrant for LOWERY’s residence. A forensic review of the hard drive of the computer seized from the defendant’s bedroom revealed that it contained approximately 4,200 images and 150 video files containing images of child pornography. Many of the images contained prepubescent children who had not yet reached the age of 12. The hard drive also contained approximately 230 images of bestiality involving both adults and children. The video files contained bondage videos as well as videos of adults and/or minors engaged in sexual acts with animals. Finally, the review of the computer also noted that there were approximately 1,351 files containing child pornography in the defendant’s shared folder which was used with file sharing that he would also place these files in his “my pictures” and/or “my videos” folders.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.