Wisconsin Man Convicted for Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material
A federal jury has delivered a conviction today for a Wisconsin man on charges of possessing images depicting the sexual abuse of children.
Discovery of Child Sexual Abuse Material
According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Joseph M. Thomas, aged 43 and residing in Kenosha, was found to have saved and viewed child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on hard drives within his residence from 2017 to 2021.
Suspicion arose when law enforcement observed internet activity from Thomas’s residence in 2021, which appeared to involve downloading CSAM over an online file-sharing network.
Subsequently, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Thomas’s residence and seized multiple hard drives and other digital devices.
A forensic examination of these devices revealed that Thomas had used them to save and view CSAM and to search for similar material online.
Conviction and Sentencing
The federal jury convicted Thomas on one count of possessing child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 1, 2024, and faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
The final sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge, who will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Prior Criminal History
It’s worth noting that in 2011, Thomas had previously been convicted of the repeated sexual assault of a young child.
Announcement by Law Enforcement Officials
The announcement regarding this conviction was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Hensle of the FBI Milwaukee Field Office.
Investigation and Prosecution
The FBI conducted the investigation in this case. Trial Attorney William G. Clayman of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan J. Paulson for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, are prosecuting the case.
Project Safe Childhood
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative initiated in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet and to identify and rescue victims.