FAYETTEVILLE (KATV) - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, tells Channel Seven that Michael Billy Whitehead, 26, of Fayetteville, has been sentenced to an 8-year prison sentence and 10 years of supervised release for downloading child pornography from the internet.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge says, "In this case, the sheer number of images is extremely disturbing, since each image represents the victimization of a child. These children will forever be victimized by these images. This Defendant was brought to justice, and we will work even more aggressively to prosecute these types of cases to the fullest extent of the law for the sake of these innocent children."
According to court records, beginning in early 2012, the Fayetteville Police Department began investigating a lead that a user was involved in the distribution of child pornography images via a peer-to-peer network. The IP address of the computer was determined to be registered to Michael Whitehead in Fayetteville.
On February 22, 2012, a search warrant was executed on his residence and a computer was seized that was later determined to contain over 10,000 images of child pornography.
After being informed of his rights, Whitehead admitted to viewing and possessing child pornography images on his computer and also stated that he knew that the files in his shared folder were available for other persons to download. Whitehead pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography on December 5, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Fayetteville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Candace Taylor prosecuted the case for the United States. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.