Thursday, January 6, 2011

Distributor of Child Pornography Sentenced

CHARLIE BENJAMIN FLOWERS, II, 34, of Cartersville, Georgia, was sentenced by District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten January 5 for collecting and trading images and videos of children being sexually abused.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant’s collection represents the worst of the worst of child pornography. The videos and pictures that he shared with other online predators showed infants and toddlers being raped, fondled, and abused. By making these horrible images available to others, this defendant was helping to grow an industry that has no place in our society, and today he is being justly punished for what he did.”

FLOWERS was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. He is also required to register as a sex offender upon his release from custody. FLOWERS pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In the summer of 2010, while operating in undercover capacities, three FBI agents, working independently of each other, encountered FLOWERS using online file sharing software to collect and distribute pictures and videos of infants and toddlers being sexually abused. Because FLOWERS typically accessed the Internet from a public node, it took several months for agents to determine his identity and location.

When he was finally apprehended, FLOWERS had in his possession a computer containing thousands of images of child pornography. His collection was almost exclusively focused on pictures and videos of infants and toddlers being raped, sodomized, and otherwise sexually abused. His online advertisement in the file-sharing forum announced his interest in and the availability of “only the youngest and hardest” images. Such images were acquired by each of the three undercover agents when, on separate occasions, FLOWERS gave them access to his collection.

Also found on FLOWERS’s computer was a file directory containing footage of FLOWERS groping a fully clothed toddler. FLOWERS had named the folder “first recorded molestation.”

This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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