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St. Croix Child Pornography Collector Gets 6.5 Years In Prison

CHRISTIANSTED — A St. Croix man who collected thousands of pictures and videos of babies being subjected to violent sex acts was sentenced on Wednesday to spend 6.5 years in prison, authorities said.

Judge Robert Molloy sentenced Collin Gomes, 27, to serve 78 months behind bars, followed by five years of supervised release. Gomes must also register as a sex offender.

U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said Thursday that Molloy also ordered Gomes to pay special assessments in the amounts of $100 and $5,000, respectively. And the court also ordered $3,000 restitution to each of the three victims in the case.

According to court documents, on or about August 16, 2018, September 6, 2018 and October 22, 2018, a Grand Prairie, Texas police detective was conducting an online investigation on the BitTorrent network for offenders sharing child pornography.

BitTorrent is a communication system for peer-to-peer file sharing that
enables users to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet in a decentralized manner.

Files are shared on the BitTorrent network via use of “torrents,” which provide addresses identifying computers that can send portions of a requested file.

With the assistance of a torrent file, the user can download small
portions of the original file.

As a result of information collected by Grand Prairie, Texas law enforcement, officers initiated an investigation for a device on the IP address used by Gomes, because it was associated with a torrent with a particular infohash (an SHA-1 hash value of the data describing the files within the torrent).

The torrent files referenced a number of files, at least one of which was identified as child pornography. On each of the dates referenced above, a download of files was successfully completed from the device that Gomes’ IP address was making available.

Officers confirmed that each download contained child pornography. On December 14, 2018, HSI executed a search warrant on Gomes’ residence on St. Croix.

Agents explained to Gomes what they were searching for and advised him of his rights. Gomes waived his rights and agreed to speak to the agents.

They asked if he viewed, downloaded and made available for download any files containing images or videos depicting child pornography and Gomes said “yes.”

Gomes also told the agents he had an HP computer on which he had child
pornography and that he had been downloading child pornography since 2011 and collected thousands of images and videos.

He stated that there was approximately one and a half Terabytes of material. HSI agents located thousands of child pornography images and videos on Gomes’ computer and external hard drives.

Gomes also admitted to molesting two neighborhood children.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda Williams-Henry.

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