Ponchatoula man sentenced to 27 years in prison in child sex abuse case

Ponchatoula man sentenced to 27 years in prison in child sex abuse case

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that Robert Swan, age 53, of Ponchatoula, was sentenced today for his role in sexual exploiting children, including receiving images depicting the sexual victimization of children.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. sentenced Swan to 327 months imprisonment, followed by supervised release for life, and a $100 special assessment.  Additionally, Swan is also required to register as a sex offender pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Notification Act.

According to court document, on January 30, 2013, investigators with the State of Louisiana Department of Justice – Cyber Crime Unit, executed a search warrant on Swan's residence.  The search was based on evidence obtained by law enforcement that between about Nov. 30, 2012, and Dec. 1, 2012, Swan distributed, by making publicly available in the shared folder of his peer-to-peer program, videos depicting the sexual victimization of children between the ages of two and ten.

Agents seized fifteen separate digital devices, including two computers and thirteen digital storage drives.

While reviewing materials seized in the search, agents found digital evidence that in about January 2010, Swan and his associate, Thomas Middleton, forced a then-three year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which Swan recorded.  Middleton was convicted in the Western District of Kentucky for his role in the offense.
Additionally, prosecutors say that agents found that between about May 2010 and Jan. 2013, Swan had downloaded, saved, and catalogued over 500,000 images and videos—one of the largest collections of child pornography found in the State of Louisiana—depicting children as young as four-weeks old being forced to engage in sexually explicit conduct.  Titles of many of the videos were consistent with the content of the videos.   
Because of Swan's prior conviction in 1987 for lewd and lascivious assault of a minor in Escambia County, Florida, he faced an enhanced sentence.

Prosecutors also say 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. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

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