A Rockville man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Greenbelt to eight years in prison for receiving and possessing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore.
Charles Johnson, 70, was found guilty June 14. According to testimony during a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Johnson downloaded 115 pages of child pornography on March 15-19, 2010. When authorities executed a search warrant, Johnson confessed to downloading the images, the government said. More than 300 images of child pornography were found on Johnson’s computer
Johnson provided access to his email account, where authorities found dozens of emails in which “Johnson engaged in online chats and exchanged stories about the raping of children,” according to a news release.
Following the prison term, Johnson will be under supervised release for life. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. also ordered Johnson to pay a $20,000 fine and ordered that upon his release from prison Johnson register as a sex offender where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
Johnson’s case was brought to trial as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative led by U.S. Attorneys' offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The program seeks to apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims.
The case was investigated as part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations effort known as Operation Gondola. HSI linked Internet accounts on “liberalmorality.com,” a website that offered images and videos of child pornography, to the users. To date, the operation has led to 69 criminal arrests, 54 indictments, 47 convictions, 244 seizures and 117 search warrants executed in the United States, the release said.
Click here for more information on Project Safe Childhood, including resources for keeping children safe on the Internet.
ICE encourages anyone who suspects child predators or observes suspicious activity to call its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or contact its online tip line at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.