(STL.News) – On Monday, August 10, 2020, U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced Jeremy McQuage, 41, of Morven, N.C. to 160 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Morven was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release, and to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison term.
On December 18, 2019, McQuage pleaded guilty to distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography. According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in February 2019, over the course of an investigation into BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network, the FBI discovered that an individual, later identified as McQuage, was downloading child pornography, including videos and images of infants being sexually abused. On March 14, 2019, the FBI executed a search warrant at the residence where the internet had been used to access and download the child pornography. While there, FBI agents learned that McQuage did not reside there but would often park in the driveway of the residence and use the wifi to connect to the internet. FBI agents located McQuage and seized his cellular phone. A forensic analysis of the device revealed that McQuage possessed hundreds of images and videos of children, including infants and toddlers, being sexually abused. According to court records, in addition to downloading child pornography, McQuage also used BitTorrent to distribute and share the child pornography with others.
In announcing today’s sentence, Judge Whitney said that the court was troubled by the quantity and the gravity of the images and videos, and that McQuage’s conduct helped feed and facilitate a global market of abuse. Judge Whitney noted that the victimization of the minors in the videos and images was extraordinary and that the lengthy sentence was needed to deter others from committing similar crimes.
McQuage is in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Wasserman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Spaugh prosecuted the case.