Idaho Falls man pleads guilty in child porn case

POSTED: 04:39 PM MDT Mar 27, 2013    UPDATED: 04:51 PM MDT Mar 27, 2013 
POCATELLO, Idaho -

An Idaho Falls man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Wednesday to one count of possession of sexually explicit images of minors.

According to a plea agreement, James Brown, 50, admitted that on Aug. 15, 2012, he possessed a laptop computer with more than 600 sexually explicit images of minors. Many of the images depicted sexual activity between adults and children under the age of 12.

When Brown was interviewed by special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, he admitted to possessing “thousands” of images of sexually explicit conduct, approximately half of which he estimated were images of minor children, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson said.

Authorities were alerted to Brown’s illegal activities in April 2011, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that Brown’s e-mail account had been used to send an image of child pornography to another person. An investigation led authorities to suspect the illegal activity was being conducted using the computer network of Brown’s employer, ON Semiconductor. Once notified, the company promptly undertook an internal investigation and cooperated fully with law enforcement’s investigation, according to a news release. Brown was fired after his confession to authorities.

The charge of possessing sexually explicit images of minors is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a minimum term of five years up to lifetime supervised release. The government is seeking forfeiture of the computer equipment used in the offense.

Sentencing is set for June 17 before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.