CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Christopher Ryan Christian Counts, 29, of Charleston, was sentenced to 204 months in prison to be followed by lifetime supervised release for possession of child pornography. Counts pleaded guilty to the charge in December 2020.
According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, Counts possessed 259 images and 14 videos of child pornography, many of which depicted prepubescent minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Some of the images and videos contained scenes depicting minors and infants engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct. Counts has two prior sex offense convictions in Kanawha County Circuit Court involving young children.
Acting Lisa G. Johnston applauded the investigative work of the West Virginia State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Task Force Officer Michelle Shaffer coordinated the investigation and Counts’ arrest. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Julie M. White handled the prosecution.
These cases were prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-00130.
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