Casper Man Pleads Guilty to Two Child Pornography Crimes
A Casper man pleaded guilty on Monday to two child pornography-related charges, according to federal court records.
Liam Van Damme, born in 2000, pleaded guilty to transportation and possession of child pornography according to the minutes of the hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal in Cheyenne.
One count of attempted production of child pornography will be dismissed as part of a plea deal at Van Damme's sentencing scheduled for May 3.
He is in custody.
Van Damme was a part-time employee of the City of Casper, but is no longer according to the city's human relations department.
A criminal complaint was filed against him on Nov. 13, and the grand jury handed up the indictment on Nov. 19. Besides the three aforementioned counts, the indictment also charged him with production of child pornography, but that count was later dismissed because the prosecution said it did not have the evidence to support the charge.
The transportation and possession crimes happened in June and November, according to the indictment.
A special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations wrote the criminal complaint.
On June 29, the agent was told by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent about Van Damme uploading child pornography to a SmugMug-Flickr account. That constituted transporting child pornography.
On July 7, the DCI's Internet Crimes Against Children task force received two cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tips reported Google becoming aware of a suspected file of child pornography, Van Damme's name, an upload of 84 child pornography files, internet provider addresses and dates.
The investigation continued through the summer.
On Aug. 13, the DCI agent obtained search warrants to look at Van Damme's email accounts and a Flickr account. Those searches revealed phone numbers, images of child pornography, emails related to his employment, his residential address, and images with adult sexual content.
On Nov. 6, the ICE and DCI agents contacted him at his workplace and executed search warrants for Van Damme's person and residence.
After being advised of his Miranda rights, Van Damme admitted he was the owner of the accounts and "admitted it was a problem he had been struggling with," according to the criminal complaint.
Transportation of child pornography is punishable by between five years and 20 years imprisonment, five years of supervised probation after release from custody, a $5,000 special assessment to the Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015, and up to $35,000 mandatory restitution of not less than $3,000 per requesting victim according to the Victim Assistance Act.
Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, the same supervised release time, the $5,000 special assessment, and up to $17,000 mandatory restitution according to the Victim Assistance Act.
The government regards child pornography as a crime of violence because it involves sometimes brutal assaults on very young children who cannot give consent to sexual activity.
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