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Child porn convict gets federal sentence

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By Olivia Neeley
The Wilson Times

Sunday, February 3, 2019

WILSON — A Wilson man will spend more than a decade behind bars after federal prosecutors say he traded thousands of images and videos of child pornography online.

U.S. District Judge James C. Dever, III sentenced 28-year-old Courtland Barnes to 14 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for receipt and possession of thousands of images and videos containing child pornography, officials said. He had pleaded guilty on 11 charges in October 2018.

In October 2014, the Cary Police Department began an online investigating related to the distribution and receipt of child pornography through file-sharing programs, according to officials.

During the investigation, police found that Barnes was downloading and distributing child pornography from an internet protocol address linked to his home, federal prosecutors said.

Homeland Security investigators secured a search warrant for Barnes’ home and seized multiple electronic devices. A forensic examination of those devices found nearly 4,000 images and nearly 900 videos containing child pornography, federal officials said.

Officials said the forensic examination as well as statements Barnes made during an interview showed he was “actively traded child pornography with other individuals on the internet using file-sharing programs.”

“We remain committed to the aggressive prosecution of child pornography and child exploitation cases,” Robert Higdon, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said in a release. “The children depicted in the images and videos this defendant possessed and traded are illegal, immoral and work to victimize the children in them each time they are viewed, traded or used in any way. We are grateful for the sentence the court handed down and hope it acts as a deterrent to anyone who would even think of involving themselves in this type of criminal activity.”

The case was a part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed to ensure criminals who exploit children are prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the criminal investigation of this case in cooperation with the Cary Police Department.

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