Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that LIAM VAN DAMME, age 21 of Casper, Wyoming was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment, followed by 60 months of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy J. Freudenthal. Van Damme was also ordered to pay a $200 special assessment fee and may be ordered to pay restitution through a separate court order.
Van Damme came to the attention of law enforcement when he uploaded child pornography using a Google account and a Smug-Flickr account. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigated the related Cybertip Reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The investigation showed that Van Damme had images of children as young as toddlers being violently sexually abused. Additionally, he had surreptitiously recorded a young child he had access to while the child changed clothes. Van Damme then edited the video down to focus on the child’s genitalia.
The United States Attorney’s Office requested a prison sentence of 150 months but ultimately the court decided on 120 months. “The sexual exploitation of innocent children has to be the most heinous crime imaginable,” said Acting United State Attorney Bob Murray. “Predators like Van Damme create a demand that only leads to more kids being abused. It must stop. We will investigate, prosecute, and lock up anyone in possession of child pornography so we can put an end to this disgusting practice.”
The case was investigated by the ICAC, and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christyne Martens.
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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 individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
- Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children.
- Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives.
- Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases.
- Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents.
- Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.