ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On February 19, 2021, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced Michael Lawrence Feith, 34, of Asheville, to 84 months in prison for distribution of child pornography, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Feith was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison.
Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to filed documents and statements made in court, on April 6, 2019, and May 13, 2019, law enforcement became aware that an individual, later identified as Feith, was using a peer-to-peer network to share with other users files containing images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. According to court records, on July 30, 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Feith’s residence in Asheville. During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement seized a custom built desktop computer. A forensic examination of the device revealed that it contained multiple images and videos depicting children being sexually abused. In total, law enforcement located 18 images and 150 videos of child pornography on Feith’s device. Court records also show that the peer-to-peer software was also located on the device. A forensic examination indicated that 128 different child pornography files had been shared 5,886 times with others via the peer-to-peer network.
On July 27, 2020, Feith pleaded guilty to distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography. He is currently in 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 APD for their investigation of the case and thanked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Boone Police Department for their invaluable assistance. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville handled the prosecution.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, aimed at combating the growing online sexual exploitation of children. By combining resources, federal, state and local agencies are better able to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue those victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.