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Former Airman Sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography

SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that Douglas William Howay, 31, of Olivehurst, was sentenced Friday by United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia to eight years and two months in prison to be followed by a 10-year term of supervised release for possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty on March 19, 2010.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department, and the Chesterfield (Virginia) County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, in 2008, undercover detectives in Chesterfield County, Virginia posed as a 13-year-old girl and communicated online with Howay through a Yahoo chat room. At the time, the defendant was an airman stationed at Beale Air Force Base in Yuba County. He was arrested on September 12, 2008 while he was online with the Virginia detectives.

A forensic search of the Howay’s computer and other computer equipment found 399 visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The forensic search also discovered that Howay had communicated in explicit sexual terms with persons who identified themselves as minors.

Howay separated from the military following his arrest and is no longer a member of the Armed Forces.

In sentencing, Judge Garcia said that Howay was more than a child pornography collector. Rather, according to Judge Garcia, Howay “had taken a sexual interest in children beyond the level of simple viewing” and was “actively fantasizing about [having sex with minors].”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC mobilizes federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.

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