An Augusta resident, originally from Durham, North Carolina, was sentenced on Tuesday by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to 10 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, for possessing child pornography.
Carlton Jevon Barnette, 27, will be required to register as a sex offender. At the conclusion of the sentencing, Barnette was returned to the custody of the United States Marshals Service to serve his sentence.
According to the evidence presented at Barnette's plea and sentencing hearings, in May 2011, Homeland Security Investigation agents identified an Internet user in Atlanta, later identified as Barnette, who was sharing child pornography through a peer-to-peer file-sharing program on his computer. Agents learned that in June 2011, Barnette moved with his fiancé to Augusta, where he continued to download and possess child pornography, unbeknownst to his fiancé and her family. Upon the execution of a federal search warrant, several of Barnette's computer devices were seized and found to contain at least 95 videos depicting the sexual abuse of children of various ages, including some as young as five years old. There was no evidence, however, to suggest that Barnette created any of the images he possessed. Barnette admitted to agents that he had been downloading, viewing, and sharing child pornography for over a year.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, “Viewing and sharing images depicting the sexual exploitation of innocent children is a serious and pervasive crime. The harm inflicted on these young victims continued every time the Defendant viewed these images and shared them with others. There is no higher priority within the Department of Justice than the protection of our Nation's children. The United States Attorney's Office will continue to prosecute those who promote, facilitate and create markets for the exploitation of children.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. 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.
The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (formerly Immigration and Customs Enforcement) out of Atlanta. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Greenwood prosecuted the case.