A man from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, has been charged and sentenced to 25 years in prison for producing child pornography, as well as sending the images and videos to others through a messaging app.
Investigation into Timothy P. McDowell, 40, began in October 2021, approximately a year prior to his apprehension. Authorities were tipped off that McDowell was posting what seemed to be child pornography that he produced himself onto Kik.
Kik is an instant messaging app aimed at a younger audience, with interactive bots from which users can obtain news, puzzles, and quizzes.
Law enforcement searched the man's home the very next day, as well as his phone, finding images and video files of the defendant sexually assaulting two young children. McDowell admitted to law enforcement that he did indeed produce the images and sent them to others using the Kik app.
McDowell was sentenced by District Judge William M. Conley to the 25-year term, followed by 30 years of supervised release. McDowell plead guilty to his offense in 2022, with courts taking a few months to convict the criminal.
The judge determined that a 25-year sentence was appropriate due to the "abhorrent nature of the defendant’s conduct," according to the Department of Justice press release.
Judge Conley said that McDowell created a potential for endless victimization of the children by sharing the images with others on the internet.
Charges were brought against McDowell through an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. As well, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman prosecuted the case.
The DOJ has been working nationwide to apprehend those who commit crimes against children, using an initiative called Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative started in 2006 that is intended to "combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse."
Iowa saw two similar cases recently, with a man sentenced to 20 years for receiving child pornography and another sentenced to 25 years for preying on underage girls via social app Snapchat.
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