SPOKANE, WA – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Peter J. Adams, age 40, of Kennewick, Washington, was sentenced today for Production of Child Pornography. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Adams to a 180-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Adams will also be required to register as a Sex Offender.
According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, the investigation of Adams originated when a Task Force Officer with Homeland Security Investigations in Richland, Washington, received a CyberTip. CyberTips are reports to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) of illegal actions taken against children. In this case, the CyberTip pertained to Adams’s use of his e-mail account to distribute child pornography. The tip was associated with several other tips, all of which involved the same account.
Law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant and executed it at Adams’ residence. Adams was interviewed and admitted possession of child pornography, chatting online about having sex with a given minor (which he maintained was fantasy only), and having some “sexual chat and picture exchange” with a teenage child. With regard to the teenage child, Adams admitted he requested nude pictures. The images in question were recovered from Adams’s electronic devices and were found to be child pornography.
Adams was charged with Production of Child Pornography and, on June 9, 2017, pleaded guilty to the crime. At today’s sentencing hearing, Adams apologized the victims of his crimes. Judge Mendoza told Adams, “When I read the facts, when I look at the conduct here, I'm appalled.” Judge Mendoza acknowledged Adams’s fourteen years in the Navy and remarked that given his military service and complete lack of criminal history, “one would be surprised [by the misconduct], I am surprised. . . and disappointed." Judge Mendoza remarked, “If we leave someone like you out in the community, the danger to the community is quite high, frankly.”
Joseph H. Harrington said, “Today’s sentence should serve as a warning to those who use social networking to send, receive, or produce child pornography – such crimes will be actively pursued by federal and state law enforcement officers. This case is a fine example of the great work that can be accomplished when state and federal law enforcement officers work together. The United States Attorney’s Office will, in turn, aggressively prosecute child pornography crimes that occur in the Eastern District of Washington.”
“This sentencing should serve as a stern reminder about the consequences facing those who prey upon and sexually exploit children,” said Brad Bench, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle, Washington. “Every time a sexually explicit image of a minor is produced, transmitted, or viewed, a child is victimized,” SAC Bench stated.
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
• Community awareness and educational programs.
The Kennewick Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Southeast Regional ICAC conducted the investigation of this matter. The case was prosecuted by Alison L. Gregoire and Laurel J. Holland, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.