RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Benson man who authorities say sent a detective images of children being sexually abused during an investigation back in late 2017 was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Tuesday, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced Andrew Jonathan Bowles, 28, to 30 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release. Bowles pleaded guilty to one count of manufacturing child pornography back on Jan. 24.
Bowles was arrested on Dec. 7, 2017, and charged with 12 counts of felony second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to warrants, he sent a Raleigh police detective sexually graphic videos and images of children. Some of the children were as young as 4 years old. Bowles was accused of sending the child pornography in the two days preceding his arrest.
According to the DOJ’s release, the investigation began in July 2017 when the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department conducted an undercover investigation and found an online profile out of North Carolina that was posting on forums and expressing a desire to have sex with children. After alerting the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina, an FBI investigator reached out undercover to the person and discussed the target having sex with his supposed 10-year-old daughter, the release states.
After further investigation, it was determined that the person behind the profile was Bowles. According to the DOJ, he sent the undercover FBI investigator child porn.
A search warrant executed at Bowles’ home on Dec. 6, 2017 resulted in the seizure of electronic devices containing 2,600 images and 1,200 videos of child pornography, according to the release.
A forensic examination of his cellphone revealed that Bowles had chatted online with children under the age of 16 and on two occasions was able to convince the child to send him photos of their genitals. The FBI followed up with the victims and were able to confirm their contact with Bowles.
“I want to commend the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. for their quick action and effective work targeting the defendant’s dangerous and predatory conduct. Their work saved many young people unspeakable anguish. We are also mindful of the harm to the actual victims who were identified in this investigation. The Court’s sentence recognized that harm and, we hope, will be a part of the healing process for these vulnerable victims,” wrote U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon, Jr., in the press release.
The investigation was conducted by the Raleigh Police Department, D.C. Metro police, and the FBI.
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