Raleigh Man, Cameron Hayes Sentenced for Child Pornography Offense Following Investigation of Disturbing Online Chats
NEW BERN, N.C (STL.News) Cameron Hayes of Raleigh, was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for receipt of child pornography. On September 16, 2020, Hayes pled guilty to the charge.
According to court documents and statements made during hearings, in September 2019, the website MeetMe.com alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that an individual with username beginning with “Jen” was engaging in suspicious activity on the website. Specifically, Jen had a conversion with another person on the MeetMe platform about receiving child pornography and engaging in sexual conduct with the other person’s 10-year-old niece. NCMEC determined that the user had an IP address in Raleigh and referred the tip to local law enforcement. Records showed the IP to be registered to the wife of defendant Cameron Hayes, at a residence in Raleigh. Apple Inc. confirmed that an email associated with the MeetMe account was registered to Hayes.
On January 7, 2020, members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Raleigh Police Department executed a search warrant at Hayes’ residence. Hayes confirmed his email account and told law enforcement that the chats about the 10-year-old were just fantasy. He admitted to unintentionally seeing child pornography but denied having any on his devices.
FBI conducted an on-site preview of various digital items and found numerous images of child pornography on Hayes’ cell phone. A full forensic review of seized items uncovered 875 images and over 200 videos depicting child abuse material on Hayes’ phone and laptop. Some files depicted prepubescent children.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Raleigh Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh prosecuted the case.
This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level.