Public Safety

C.R. man sentenced to 2 years for child pornography

He posed online as teenager in communicating with minors

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man was sentenced this week to two years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

Troy French, 29, pleaded guilty last July in U.S. District Court to one count of possession of child pornography.

During the plea hearing, French admitted that he knowingly possessed child pornography from 2012 to 2017.

Court documents show French possessed more than 2,000 images and more than 50 videos of child pornography.

In 2011 and 2012, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received three cybertips about French, a plea agreement showed.

He communicated with a 15-year-old girl on the “myYearbook” website and through text messages. French used his own name but changed his date of birth, posing as a 15-year-old. The victim’s mother also reported the incident to the center.

French was interviewed by an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation agent and a member of the Iowa State Patrol in February 2012 regarding that communication. He told authorities he understood the “ramifications” of his behavior and said he wouldn’t do it again, according to the plea.

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In June 2012, French chatted with a different 15-year-old girl on the “MeetMe” website, formerly myYearbook, using a fake name and posing again as a 15-year-old, the plea agreement showed. He was again interviewed by authorities and told them it wouldn’t happen again.

A month later, French communicated with a 14-year-old girl on the same website and used a fake name, posing as a 14-year-old, according to the plea. The center again notified law enforcement of this contact.

The prosecution didn’t resist a lesser sentence, as argued by the defense, primarily because of French’s “mild intellectual disability” but did ask for some prison time, citing mitigating factors of French’s long-term collection of child pornography, his focus on infants and toddlers, and his prior encounters with law enforcement.

According to the document, French reported first viewing child pornography in 2009, when he obtained his computer. He started downloading and possessing child pornography in 2010.

In court documents, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Tremmel pointed out that while the defense emphasized French’s intellectual disability, Frank was proficient enough to set up fake online accounts and communicate online with young girls.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams also ordered French to pay $3,000 in restitution to victims depicted in images he possessed. He also must serve 10 years of supervised release after prison and comply with sex offender registration requirements.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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