Canyon Country man pleads guilty to distributing child porn

A Canyon Country man accused by the FBI of distributing child pornography pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Justin Schobey, 19, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a minimum sentence of five years in federal prison.

He is scheduled to be sentenced 10 a.m. Sept. 23 before U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

Schobey was one of eight people taken into custody by members of multi-agency task force involving the FBI and Homeland Security aimed at fighting the production of child pornography. He pleaded guilty April 25.

Among the many terms Schobey agreed to in the plea agreement are to: be truthful at all times with the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office of the Court and that he register as a sex offender.

Schobey must also, according to the agreement, participate in a sex offender treatment program or similar program.

And, that he must pay for all or part of the entire costs of the treatment program, as directed his probation officer.

Schobey also agreed not to view or posses any material depicting or describing child pornography.

He must also commit to not have any verbal, written, telephonic or electronic communication with any person under the age of 18 except in the presence of that child’s parent or guardian.

Schobey cannot be within 100 feet of school yards, parks, public swimming pools, playgrounds, youth centers, video arcade facilities and other places used by children under 18.

In October, FBI agents arrested two defendants as part of the multi-agency sweep that led to eight defendants — including Schobey — being taken into custody over a 10-day period.

The operation was one of a series of child exploitation cases involving the victimization of minors through crimes that include the production of child pornography.

Several of the cases involved agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

These cases were part of an operation dubbed Project Safe Childhood, an ongoing initiative of the Justice Department aimed at combating what they describe as “the growing epidemic of child exploitation crimes.”

“These cases involve acts of depravity against vulnerable young people, many of whom will continue to be victimized as photos documenting their abuse spread across the internet,” U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna was quoted as saying in a news release issued in October.

“These cases are a reminder that child predators cannot hide behind the perceived anonymity of the internet,” she said. “Those who engage in the child pornography industry – whether they create new images or collect videos – can and will be caught as a result of the concerted efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement authorities.”

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