A Des Moines, man was sentenced this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison for possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Gregory Sean O'Neall , 51, a convicted sex offender originally from Houston, Texas, was arrested in June 2012. He pleaded guilty in September 2012. Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman also sentenced O'Neall to lifetime supervised release including sex offender treatment and the use of special software to monitor his computer.
According to records in the case, O'Neall came to the attention of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force because of his postings on an online file sharing site. A Homeland Security Investigation agent working undercover on the site observed sexually explicit images of children being distributed from the internet protocol address at O'Neall’s residence. The agent engaged O'Neall in an online chat.
O'Neall discussed various photographs. Further investigation revealed that O'Neall had posted other pictures in albums on a web site. More than 100 of the photos had been surreptitiously taken of young girls shopping with their families at retail stores. The ‘up-skirt’ photos focused on the underwear area of the young girls, but were not child pornography. Prior to his arrest O'Neall worked for a contractor providing food samples at a Costco store in Federal Way, Washington. Some of the pictures appear to have been taken at that store.
O'Neall has a prior sex offense conviction for molesting a 6-year-old girl who was left in his care. On December 2, 1991, he was convicted in Fort Worth, Texas, for Indecency with a Child (Contact), and sentenced to 7 years of probation.
In asking for a 135 month sentence prosecutors wrote to the court, “A substantial period of imprisonment is the only effective means to protect our community from the defendant, and it is also a fitting and just sanction for the harm he has caused.”
This 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.
The case was investigated by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerrod Patterson, who coordinates Project Safe Childhood for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.