Guilty plea from man accused of accessing pay-to-view porn site - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Guilty plea from man accused of accessing pay-to-view porn site on USC computer

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A 23-year-old man has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography containing images of children under the age of 12 that had traveled in interstate/foreign commerce by computer.

United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. accepted Ryan Smith's guilty plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Smith used a University of South Carolina computer, in Columbia, to access a pay to view child pornography hidden service on the internet in March 2016, U.S Attorney Beth Drake said.

Law enforcement agencies in the United States and in other countries began monitoring the site and determined that Smith was one of many people accessing the website, Drake said. Further investigation revealed that Smith also possessed images of child pornography involving prepubescent children on his personal laptop, according to Drake.

The maximum penalty for possessing child pornography containing images of children younger than 12 years old is imprisonment for up to 20 years plus supervised release from 5 years to life and/or a fine of $250,000.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ICE-Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney William E Day, II of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.

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