Defendant Used Ashland Public Library and Local Coffee Shops to Access and Distribute Child Pornography
MEDFORD, OR—U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Thomas William Crimmins, 54, of Ashland, Oregon, on August 6, 2012, to 40 years in federal prison for distribution of child pornography. In addition, Crimmins will be on supervised release for life after serving his prison term.
In June 2010, a detective with the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF) determined that Crimmins was sending child pornography to a website that allowed the user to share the images with others. Crimmins used the Internet at the Ashland Public Library and two local coffee shops to send some of the images.
On March 30, 2011, SOHTCTF detectives observed Crimmins using his laptop computer at the Ashland Public Library running the same file sharing program he used to share photographs and videos of child sexual abuse. Detectives arrested Crimmins and obtained a search warrant for his computers, finding over 1,974 images and 421 videos of child sexual abuse. A number of images were of known child victims previously identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Agents also found evidence that Crimmins distributed the images to users across the United States and the world. Crimmins’ e-mails showed a pattern of recruiting and encouraging others to sexually abuse children. This included corresponding with individuals who identified themselves as minors and inviting them to visit him to have sex. Crimmins also e-mailed these individuals advice on how to groom children to engage in sexual activity.
“This defendant exemplifies the connection between people who view images of child sexual abuse and people who prey on children. Those of us who investigate, prosecute, and treat child sexual abuse have come to understand that child pornography is not just ‘dirty pictures,’” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “It is documentation of the most terrible abuse you can imagine. Those who find pleasure in viewing such images pose a danger to any child unfortunate enough to come into contact with these perpetrators. The 40-year sentence in this case will ensure that this defendant can’t hurt any more children.”
Crimmins has prior convictions for attempted child molestation II in 1995 in Washington and failure to register as a sex offender in 2003 in Oregon. At the sentencing hearing, the prosecution produced evidence that Crimmins had sexually abused at least five minor girls in the past. Two of the victims abused by Crimmins testified at the sentencing hearing.
“Our children deserve a life free from abuse, and no adult should be allowed to violate that trust,” said Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “We are particularly concerned that abusers use public venues frequented by children to view and exchange child pornography. We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to bring these criminals to justice. We encourage anyone who may have information regarding use or production of child pornography to contact the FBI.”
In addition to the prison sentence, the court also ordered forfeiture of the laptop computers, camera, and other equipment used to facilitate Crimmins’ crimes. He has been in custody since his arrest on March 30, 2011.
This case was investigated by the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, made up of the FBI, Medford Police Department, Ashland Police Department, Grants Pass Police Department, Klamath Falls Police Department, Central Point Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Homeland Security and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Judith Harper.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”