A Bella Vista Man has been sentenced to over 10 years in prison without the possibility of parole, 20 years of supervised release and a $20,000 fine on one count of receipt of child pornography, according to a news release from Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.
The man was identified as Nicholas Harper, 27, of Bella Vista.
He was sentenced to 121 months in prison on Wednesday (April 2), according to the news release.
Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing in the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge stated, “This case reinforces the importance of safeguarding our personal computers in order to keep sexual predators such as this defendant from taking advantage of them and committing this type of horrendous act that victimizes our innocent children. Every time a video or image involving sexual abuse of children is downloaded or viewed, those children are re-victimized. Crimes against children remain a top priority for this office, and child predators are put on notice that we are committed to aggressively prosecute these cases in the Western District of Arkansas. We will do all that we can to hold these offenders fully accountable for their contemptible crimes.”
In August, 2012, law enforcement officers assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force identified a computer in Bella Vista, Arkansas that was offering to participate in the distribution of suspected child porn.
“On September 17, 2012, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence and determined that no computers contained any child pornography. As a result, officers began conducting knock-and-talks at neighboring houses and came into contact with Nicholas Harper who lived directly across the street. Harper was interviewed and admitted that he had been downloading child pornography from his neighbor’s unsecured wireless internet connection. A subsequent forensic examination of Harper’s computer revealed approximately 3,600 images of child pornography,” the news release states.
This case was investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. Assistant United States Attorney Allison Bragg prosecuted this case for the United States.