CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. sentenced today George Malcolm Hargrove, 30, of Charlotte, to 17 ½ years in prison on child pornography charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Conrad also ordered Hargrove to serve 30 years supervised release and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.
Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on or about June 11-12, 2018, the FBI determined that an individual, later identified as Hargrove, was using an online file sharing network to exchange child pornography with another user. Court records show that, in October 2018, the FBI executed a search warrant at Hargrove’s residence and seized Hargrove’s laptop and other devices. A forensic examination of the seized items revealed that Hargrove possessed hundreds of images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of minors, including prepubescent children. Hargrove was arrested on state offenses. In April 2019, Hargrove was indicted on federal child pornography charges and was released on pretrial probation.
On July 19, 2019, the U.S. Probation Office conducted an inspection of Hargrove’s residence. U.S. probation officers discovered that Hargrove was using the internet to contact a 14-year-old girl. According to court records, Hargrove, who knew the age of the minor, began communicating with her online prior to his arrest, and continued his communication with her while on pretrial release.
On October 7, 2019, Hargrove pleaded guilty to possession, distribution and attempted receipt of child pornography. He is in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray commended the FBI for their investigation of the case and thanked the U.S. Probation Office for their invaluable assistance.
Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Wasserman and Cortney Randall, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.
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.