According to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge, 52-year-old John Marc Ryan of Mena was sentenced to 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole, and 15 years probation following his release from prison.
Eldridge commented, "Each sentence for child pornography offenses translates into greater safety for our children. In this case, the sheer number of images is shocking, since each image represents the victimization of a child. These cases are horrendous, and we will continue to prosecute them."
According to court documents, in May 2011, an individual contacted the Mena Police Department and reported that a computer that was purchased from Ryan contained images of suspected child pornography. The resulting investigation confirmed that the computer did in fact contain images of child pornography.
Based on this information, the Mena Police Department conducted an interview with Ryan, who ultimately confessed to downloading and possessing child pornography. After the interview, a search warrant was executed at Ryan's home in Mena. At his residence, law enforcement located an additional computer, an external hard drive, and numerous digital storage devices. These items were subsequently forensically examined by the Arkansas State Crime Lab and revealed additional images of children engaged in sexual conduct.
On Sept. 19, 2012, Ryan pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges. At sentencing, Chief United States District Judge Holmes was presented evidence by the government that, in total, Ryan had over 16,000 still images and 100 different videos of child pornography on the numerous devices seized by law enforcement.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and their Criminal Division Child Exploitation and Obscenity Sections (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.