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Cut Bank man sentenced for child pornography, firearms crimes
GREAT FALLS—A Cut Bank man who admitted posting messages on a website offering to trade child pornography and illegally possessing firearms was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison and 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Shawn Andrew Andersen, 42, pleaded guilty in March to attempted receipt and distribution of child pornography and to prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
In court documents filed in the case, the prosecution said that in September 2018, Andersen posted messages on a website offering to trade child pornography. Andersen’s messages said he had child pornography links to share with other users or that he was seeking child pornography links in return for sending his own links. Andersen posted his online identity information so others could contact him to trade child pornography links.
Law enforcement agents served a search warrant on Andersen’s residence on May 16, 2019 and found four rifles in a gun safe and a rifle in his vehicle. At the time Andersen possessed the firearms, he knew he had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army and was prohibited from possessing them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee Peterson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.
This case also is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.