Area man pleads to child porn

Published 9:36am Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eclectic native Carl Ray Estes pleaded guilty last week to one count of distributing and faces a sentence of at least five years in federal prison.
Estes agreed April 16 to plea guilty to the charge of knowingly distributing child pornography in interstate commerce by computer in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping three counts of knowingly possessing child pornography.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for July 31. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Estes will serve a prison term “not exceeding the very bottom of the advisory range recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.”
Those guidelines specify a range of five to 20 eyars in prison, meaning Estes likely will spend the next five years in a federal penitentiary. There is no parole or early release in the federal prison system.
The possession charges, which will be dismissed at the sentencing hearing, carried minimum sentences of 10 years each.
The plea agreement details the charges against Estes. On or about Jan. 2, 2009, he “used a peer-to-peer file-sharing software program, and a computer connected to the Internet, knowingly to distribute child pornography images from the Internet.”
The images were of a “sexually explicit” nature of subjects under the age of 18, according to the indictment.
Estes was the subject of an area-wide search Jan. 29, after U.S. Marshals quietly arrested him in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning, leading family members to fear he was missing. Local police, county sheriff’s deputies, family and volunteers and even a department of public safety helicopter combed the area for him before Eclectic police learned that Estes was in jail.
Estes is an Eclectic native and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He will also be required to pay restitution to the victims and faces fines of up to $250,000.
He will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
John Estes, Carl’s brother, asked in January that community members understand that “all of us do wrong at some point in our lives.”
“Those who really knew Carl know he wasn’t like that,” John Estes said. “If you’re a true friend of his, I ask that you not judge him, but support and pray for him.”
John Estes said his brother got wrapped up in online pornography and downloaded a package of files which contained the images of minors.
And “after he got caught,” John Estes said, his brother was “on the straight path.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Clark Morris said the four-year delay between the initial arrest and Estes’s indictment was due to the thorough nature of forensic testing on the two computers that were seized.

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