LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs – A former custodian at a Central Coast elementary school was sentenced this afternoon to 40 years in federal prison for possessing tens of thousands of images of child pornography, including pictures he took of a 4-year-old girl.
Shane Robert Ferguson, 36, of Atascadero, was sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom by United States District Court J. Spencer Letts, who imposed the statutory maximum sentence in the case.
Ferguson was convicted last May of possession of child pornography and production of child pornography following a 2½-day trial. This was the first case involving the production of child pornography to go to a jury trial in the Central District of California. The jury in the case heard evidence that Ferguson had more than 120,000 images of child pornography, including one dozen still images and a videotape of a 4-year-old girl who was the granddaughter of close friends.
The investigation into Ferguson started in July 2005, when the grandparents of the 4-year-old victim reported suspicions of child molestation to the Atascadero Police Department. After a search of Ferguson’s apartment, investigators recovered a computer, computer media, photo albums and videotapes. A computer forensic examination by the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department showed that the computer held more than 120,000 images of child pornography, including images of the 4-year old victim. When police searched his residence, Ferguson was working at Santa Margarita Elementary School in Atascadero.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Ferguson showed child pornography to the 4-year-old victim to encourage her to pose for his pictures.
Local authorities in San Luis Obispo County are continuing to investigate Ferguson in relation to the 4-year-old girl.
This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Atascadero Police Department and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Zweiback
Release No. 07-026