St. Charles man sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison for possessing thousands of images of child pornography
(STL.News) U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey on Wednesday sentenced a St. Charles man to six and one-half years in prison for possessing thousands of images and hundreds of videos containing child pornography.
Marcus E. Gardner, 48, was also ordered to pay $78,000 in restitution to victims who have been identified by law enforcement in the approximately 11,000 images and 500 videos of child sexual abuse investigators found on Gardner’s computer and external hard drives.
Gardner pleaded guilty in March to a charge of possession of child pornography. He admitted being one of the customers of an overseas website that offered child pornography for a fee. Gardner accessed the website 1,132 times between Sept. 2, 2015 and Dec. 3, 2018 and purchased child pornography at least twice, agents with Homeland Security Investigations determined. They also determined that the website had collected the equivalent of at least $19 million in profit from users paying to access and download content.
The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson prosecuted the case.
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. 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.