A Waynesboro man has been sentenced to over 24 years in prison for distributing and receiving child pornography.
Stephen Jeffrey Babb, 28, was sentenced Tuesday by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to over 24 years in prison, followed by lifetime of supervised release, for distributing and receiving child pornography. He was also ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution to victims of this offense. Babb had pled guilty to the charges January 2013. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
According to the evidence presented at Babb's plea and sentencing hearings in September of 2012, he was actively trading child pornography images through the use of various email addresses while using the free wireless services of Augusta-area fast food restaurants. Babb also posted information on one or more international websites where he advertised the availability of child pornography. Babb was identified through the combined investigative efforts of Homeland Security Investigations and the Burke County Sheriff's Office.
Following the execution of a search warrant, Babb's computer was found to contain over 870 still images and 93 video images of child pornography. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Babb was returned to the custody of the United States Marshal Service to serve his sentence.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, "It is beyond belief that an adult would create images that show the sexual abuse of innocent children. It is beyond shocking that an adult would take steps to avoid detection so that he could knowingly sell, trade and swap the despicable images with others. Babb committed a serious crime for which lengthy punishment is justified. There is no higher priority than the protection of our nation's children. This United States Attorney's Office will continue its efforts to prosecute those who endanger the safety of our children."
"Despite the defendant's attempts to cover his tracks by using an open Wi-Fi network at a fast food restaurant, he couldn't hide from the Homeland Security Investigation special agents who brought him to justice for the crimes he committed against the most innocent," said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta, who oversees agency operations in Georgia and the Carolinas. "Trafficking in child pornography is an outrageous offense that has no place in our society. This successful prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office and stiff prison sentence sends a strong message to other predators: stop victimizing children or be prepared to spend decades behind bars."
Burke County Sheriff Gregory Coursey added, "Because this was a joint effort between the Department of Homeland Security and the Burke County Sheriff's Office, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Homeland Security for their assistance. This is a prime example of what can be accomplished when agencies come together, share information and work towards a common goal."
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. 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 identify and rescue victims.
Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood, Deputy Criminal Chief in the Augusta U.S. Attorney's Branch Office and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator, prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
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