CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Thursday, March 2, 2017, Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced a Lincolnton, N.C. man to 112 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Daniel Lee Rathbone, 38, was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.
John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina and Chief Robert C. Helton of the Gastonia Police Department join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, in or about June 3, 2015, law enforcement became aware that Rathbone was using an online peer-to- peer network to download child pornography. In August 2015, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Rathbone’s residence and recovered a desktop computer. A forensic analysis of Rathbone’s device revealed that he possessed 181 images and 261 videos of child pornography, some of which depicted prepubescent minors engaging in sadistic and masochistic conduct. Some of the images and videos contained identified victims of 38 different series of child pornography. Rathbone also has a previous state conviction for taking indecent liberties with a child.
Rathbone pleaded guilty in October 2016 to one count of receipt of child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was led by the FBI and the Gastonia Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children. By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
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