Australian Sentenced To 7½ Years’ Prison For Bringing Child Pornography To United States

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – An Australian national was sentenced today to 90 months in federal prison for transporting and possessing child pornography that was seized when he traveled from Sydney to the United States.

Martin Edward Towell, 31, of Newtown, New South Wales, was sentenced by United States District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles.

In February 2007, Towell pleaded guilty to two federal charges – transporting child pornography and possessing child pornography. He pleaded guilty on the day his jury trial was scheduled to begin.

Towell was arrested in August 2006 by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, after he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport and attempted to enter the United States as a visitor. After Towell presented himself for inspection, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer conducted a border inspection of Towell’s luggage and discovered that Towell was carrying an MP3 multimedia player. On the MP3 player, authorities found more than 1,000 images and six digital video files of child pornography. Some of the video files depicted children as young as 3 and 4 involved in graphic sexual activity with an adult male. Towell subsequently admitted to authorities that he had downloaded the images and videos onto the MP3 player and that he knew it was illegal to possess the child pornography within the United States.

The case against Towell is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian Federal Police.

“This investigation showcases the commitment of law enforcement agencies here and worldwide to protect children from sexual predators,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. “This sentencing is a reminder of the serious consequences that await those who prey upon and sexually exploit the most vulnerable among us.”

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Sherilyn Peace Garnett

(213) 894-3424

Release No. 07-116

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