Huntington Man Sentenced for Child Porn Distribution

Updated 5 years ago From a Release by U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern District of WV

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –  John D. Hayes, a 66-year-old Cabell County resident, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for possession and attempted distribution of child pornography, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced.  The sentence was handed down by Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers in Huntington.

Following a bench trial in March of 2014, Hayes was found guilty of knowingly possessing child pornography and attempting to distribute child pornography.  Between March 17 and April 28, 2012, authorities discovered that child pornography was being shared via a peer-to-peer network called Frostwire.  Authorities traced the computer used to share the child pornography to Hayes’ Huntington residence.  Computer evidence seized from Hayes’ home, including a portable USB drive, was examined by authorities and found to contain thousands of pornographic images and videos of children.  The examination also revealed that one of the computers in Hayes’ possession contained the Frostwire program and had a unique user identification number (known as a GUID) that matched the GUID linked to the child pornography shared in March and April of 2012. 

In 1979, Hayes was convicted in the Circuit Court of Putnam County, West Virginia for two counts of second degree sexual assault of female children ages 10 and 12.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, “When criminals like John Hayes download and trade child pornography, they perpetuate the exploitation and abuse of innocent children.  Every successful child pornography prosecution makes our communities and our children safer.” 

The investigation of Hayes was conducted by the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of the Huntington Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Rada Herrald and Lisa Johnston were in charge of the prosecution.   

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood.  In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

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