March 04, 2014
Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced the sentencing of Avon resident William Donald Horner, age 58, to 70 months in federal prison after his admission of guilt to charges that he possessed child pornography. This prosecution comes as the U.S. Attorney’s Office has recommitted to Operation Community Watch, a federal effort which aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
“Through our Operation Community Watch initiative, we have joined with state and local partners to make clear that we will not tolerate child exploitation in Indiana,” Hogsett said. “With innovation and vigilance, we are unmasking these online predators and holding them accountable for their criminal activity.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert A. Jones stated, “The distribution of child pornography over the internet is not a harmless, non-violent, victimless act. I am pleased that our relationship with our state and local law enforcement partners produced this sentence and I am confident that, together, we will continue to use every technique in our arsenal to investigate, locate, arrest, prosecute and imprison anyone involved in these acts.”
On September 2, 2012, an abandoned computer containing child pornography was located at Horner’s previous residence in Indianapolis. On October 24, 2012, detectives with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sought and were granted a search warrant for Horner’s current residence located in Avon, Indiana. Detectives located a laptop computer inside Horner’s office. A forensic investigation revealed hundreds of videos and images of child pornography on the laptop, including depictions of sexual abuse against children younger than age twelve.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum, who prosecuted the case for the government, Horner was also sentenced to lifetime supervised release at the end of his prison term, and must comply with state and federal requirements as a registered sexual offender.
This arrest comes one year after Hogsett announced a comprehensive crackdown on child exploitation in Indiana. In 2013, he launched Operation Community Watch, which has allowed prosecutors and investigators to use cutting-edge techniques to identify and charge people in Hoosier communities who are engaged in the receipt and trafficking of child pornography materials. In this case, those efforts were facilitated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Hogsett pointed out that in the last Project Safe Childhood reporting year, the Office prosecuted 52 defendants, an increase of 37% over the prior year, and 49 defendants were convicted and sentenced. These are all‑time records for the Office. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.