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Cabell man, 66, convicted of sharing child pornography online

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A 66-year-old Cabell County man has been found guilty of trying to share pornographic images of children online.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said the defendant, John D. Hayes, faces anywhere from 15 to 60 years in prison plus lifetime supervision after being convicted of possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography following a three-day bench trial in Huntington.

Sentencing is set for July 7.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers ruled that Hayes had the images on computer equipment in his residence and attempted to disseminate them via Frostwire, an online fire-sharing program.

Goodwin said the investigation began after authorities discovered the unlawful images were being shared via Frostwire over a six-week period beginning in March 2012. The associated IP address was traced back to Hayes' residence in Huntington, he said.

Computer evidence subsequently seized from the Hayes' home pursuant to a search warrant executed in May 2012, including a portable USB drive, was forensically analyzed and found to contain images and videos of child pornography. The forensic examination also revealed that one of the computers Hayes possessed was loaded with the Frostwire program and had a unique user identification number, known as a GUID, that matched the GUID that had shared the pornographic images of children.

Hayes previously had been convicted in Putnam County Circuit Court in 1979 on two counts of second degree sexual assault, one of which involved a 10-year-old girl.

The investigation of Hayes was handled by the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of the Huntington Police Department and the West Virginia State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Rada and Lisa Johnston were in charge of the prosecution.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices, 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.