U.S. Attorney’s Office
March 12, 2012
Middle District of Florida
Columbia County Man Sentenced to 33 Months in Federal Prison for Possession of Child Pornography
JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced today that United States District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan sentenced Steven Arnold Hillard (27, Fort White) to 33 months in federal prison and a 10-year term of supervised release for possessing images and videos of child pornography. Hillard was also ordered to register as a sex offender and forfeit his computer media.
According to court documents, an undercover agent in Oklahoma connected to the Internet in an undercover capacity in an effort to identify individuals trafficking in child pornography. The agent identified a particular host computer that contained several images of child pornography and was using an Internet file sharing program. This host computer was determined to be located in a residence in Fort White, Florida.
According to court documents, on January 13, 2009, agents with the FBI and the Florida Attorney General’s Office executed a federal search warrant at Hillard’s residence in Fort White. Hillard admitted that he had been collecting child pornography for about one year. Hillard advised that he had made some CDs and DVDs containing images of child pornography which he kept in his desk. Hillard stated that he saved images and videos of child pornography into a file folder on his desktop. Hillard also admitted that he had printed images of child pornography and put them into folders. In Hillard’s closet, the agents found a cardboard box and several CDs and DVDs with various handwritten titles indicative of child pornography, including one labeled “child porn vids.” The agents seized, among other things, one generic computer tower, three computer hard disk drives, pictures of children cut from magazines, and a folder containing printed images of child pornography. Subsequent forensic analysis revealed, among other things, approximately 273 images and 25 videos of child pornography on one of Hillard’s computer hard disk drives.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the former Child Predator Cybercrime Unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the 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 locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.