CHATTANOOGA, Tenn - Denver C. Cole, 40, of Tullahoma, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, to receipt of child pornography in interstate commerce by means of a computer. Sentencing was set for 9:00 a.m., May 21, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.
Denver Cole faces a minimum term of five years and up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and supervised release of at least five years and up to life.
As set out in the plea agreement, in August 2010, an undercover on-line investigation by the Winchester Police Department discovered that a computer traced to Cole was using file sharing software to make child pornography available on the internet. Identified child pornography images were in Cole's shared folders. All of the child pornographic images were of real children. Two videos containing child pornography were downloaded by investigators, and a search warrant was obtained for the Cole's residence as a result. The search warrant was executed and Cole’s computers and associated digital media were seized and subjected to forensic analysis by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Numerous videos and images downloaded from the Internet and containing child pornography, including known victims, were found on Cole’s computers and digital media.
On July 26, 2011 a 24-count indictment was returned against Cole by a federal grand jury in Chattanooga. This indictment was the result of an ongoing investigation by the Winchester Police Department, Tullahoma Police Department, TBI, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terra Bay and Ann-Marie Svolto represented the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.