California man gets 15 years for child porn

California Child Porn Distributor Gets 15 Years In Prison, Violent Sexual Images Found On Computer

A 54-year-old California man, who sent more than 600 child pornography images and videos through the Internet, was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii.

Between 2011 and 2013, Tehachapi resident Thomas Bettis sent the images showing prepubescent minors engaged in sadistic and masochistic sexual acts as email attachments.

The case was investigated by the FBI as part of Project Safe Childhood, a 2006 Department of Justice initiative to combat the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

“Collecting and trading child pornography is a crime perpetrated by individuals who steal children’s innocence and share the obscene content with others who often, as is the case with Thomas Bettis, also have sexually abused children.”

Bettis was arrested September 4, 2014, and charged with receiving and distributing child porn. He pled guilty January 12, 2015.

The violent sexual images containing young children are dramatic and devastating.

They’re also the reason Attorney General Eric Holder launched the DOJ initiative, designed as the nation’s first ever comprehensive program to combat the threat from online enticement, child sex tourism, and sexual exploitation in Indian Country.

Since 2007, U.S. attorneys have put 2,713 people behind bars for everything from filming child pornography to engaging in physical sexual abuse, including 64 child pornographers who received life in federal prison.

That number doesn’t include a 45-year-old Texas man who pled guilty Tuesday to child exploitation charges and faces a mandatory federal life sentence.

Registered sex offender Jose Stephen Gracia produced and distributed child pornography images and stored them on a memory card he kept in a locked safe.

There are more than 61 nationwide task forces representing some 3,000 individual police agencies dedicated to fighting online child exploitation. They’ve arrested more than 30,000 child pornographers since 1998.

Earlier this month, Subway suspended its spokesman, Jared Fogle, after police raided his house in search of child porn images connected with an FBI investigation into the director of his childhood anti-obesity charity.

Federal agents found multiple child porn images possessed by Executive Director Russell Taylor and followed up by raiding Subway spokesman Jared Fogle’s house. Fogle, himself, has so far not been implicated in any crime.

Meanwhile, Bettis got off with a relatively light sentence, as he was facing 40 years in jail and a fine of $250,000 along with a lifetime parole.

“The FBI is committed to working with the public, to locate individuals who prey upon our children.”

[Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images]

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