LOS ANGELES – A Riverside man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for possessing about 100 images depicting child pornography, including sexually explicit pictures of pre-pubescent girls under the age of 12.
James Gregory O'Neill, 58, was sentenced Monday afternoon by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner.
O'Neill pleaded guilty in January to possessing child pornography on his mobile phone in the spring of 2015. When authorities discovered the pictures of O'Neill's phone, he was on parole after being convicted in Riverside Superior Court of possessing matter depicting a minor in a sexual act, a crime that led to a two-year sentence. O'Neill had also been convicted in federal court in 2003 of distributing child pornography, a conviction that brought a 40-month prison sentence.
“Mr. O'Neill has now been convicted three separate times of serious felony offenses related to child pornography,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Even after his prior convictions, he was not deterred from continuing to engage in crimes that victimize children. Because of his repeated failure to behave lawfully, Mr. O'Neill earned the decade-long sentence imposed by the Court.”
The case against O'Neill was investigated by the Riverside Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“Every time a sexually explicit image or video of a minor is downloaded and viewed, the child who's shown is victimized again,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles. “That's why HSI, in close collaboration with its law enforcement partners and prosecutors, is using every resource and tool at its disposal not only to target those involved in online child sexual exploitation, but also to identify and rescue the children who've fallen prey to these predators.”
O'Neill is one of a half-dozen men from the Inland Empire who currently face federal charges related to child pornography.
· Jeremy Matthew Meyerett, 41, of San Bernardino, has agreed to plead guilty to production of child pornography in a case that carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison term. During an undercover investigation by the Queensland (Australia) Police Service, Meyerett discussed sexually molesting a 5-year-old girl, and a subsequent search of an online account by federal law enforcement yielded child pornography depicting the young victim. Meyerett is scheduled to enter his guilty plea on June 13, 2016 before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. This investigation was conducted by HSI and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
· Andrew Harrison Fowler, 26, of Perris, a convicted sex offender who was convicted of having sex with minors in San Diego Superior Court, pleaded guilty on April 18 to possession of child pornography, with some of the images depicting victims younger than 10. Fowler came to the attention of law enforcement after his employer discovered that he was distributing and possessing child pornography while using a computer at his job in Corona. Fowler is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Phillips on June 27, at which time he will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and maximum possible sentence of 20 years. Fowler was on parole in the San Diego case when he committed the offense in the federal case. This case was investigated by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office Sexual Assault and Felony Enforcement/Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, which includes special agents with HSI.
· Anthony Michael Scotti, 22, of Murrieta, pleaded guilty on April 4 to possession of child pornography. Scotti, who was previously convicted in Riverside Superior court of distributing lewd material to a minor, admitted that he had images on an iPod that was seized by law enforcement last August, and that he used the KIK messaging app to distribute images of children engaged in sex acts with adults. In a plea agreement, Scotti also admitted that he used text messages to convince a 15-year-old girl in another state to take sexually explicit pictures and send them to him. United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez is scheduled to sentence Scotti on September 12, at which time the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, and prosecutors have said they will recommend a sentence of 14 years. This case was investigated by HSI.
· Angelo Harper Jr., 21, of Moreno Valley, is scheduled to go on trial on July 19 on charges of advertising, distributing and possessing child pornography. A grand jury indictment in this case accused Harper of distributing child pornography that includes a six-minute video depicting a man with a pre-pubescent boy. If he is convicted, Harper would face a statutory maximum sentence of 70 years in federal prison. This case was investigated by HSI and the Riverside Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Task Force.
· Nathan Charles Longino Barba, 21, of Rancho Cucamonga, was indicted on April 13 on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Barba has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial on June 14. The indictment alleges that Barba received video files depicting child pornography over the Internet and that he possessed images that depicted a child under the age of 12. If he is convicted, Barba would face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison. This case was investigated by FBI.
“Child pornography offenses must be punished,” said United States Attorney Decker. “These crimes create further demand in child pornography market, which by its nature is based on the exploitation and abuse of children. By deterring demand, we are protecting against future abuse.”
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Half-Dozen Men from Inland Empire have been in Federal Court this Year After Being Charged with Child Exploitation Crimes
USAO – California, Central Topic: Project Safe Childhood Updated May 3, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-095 / May 03, 2016