LONDON, Ky. – A Middlesboro firefighter was convicted late Monday, by a federal jury sitting in London, of receiving and possessing child pornography, on a Middlesboro Fire Department laptop.
The jury convicted Robert Christopher England, 35, after 30 minutes of deliberations, following a five-day trial.
According to the evidence at trial, England received child pornography on three separate occasions and possessed a collection of over 600 images, between April of 2017 and June 23, 2018. England’s fire department laptop was seized, on June 23, 2018, by the Middlesboro Police Department. At the time, England was serving as a Lieutenant within the Middlesboro Fire Department. A forensic review conducted by the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crimes Branch showed evidence of dark web access via Tor Browser and child pornography “playlists” created in ManyCam, a web conferencing program.
England was indicted in October of 2018.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, James R. Brown, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Louisville Division; and Acting Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnette, Jr., Kentucky State Police, jointly announced the jury’s verdict.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Kentucky State Police Electronic Crimes Branch. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenna E. Reed.
England will appear for sentencing, before U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom, on March 16, 2021. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count. However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes before imposing the sentence.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.