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December 2012
Tim Bilecki

Bilecki Negotiates 18-Month Plea for Sailor in Long-Delayed Child Porn Case

Possession of Child Pornography
Yokosuka, Japan
Navy Petty Officer Second Class – E-5
18-month plea deal negotiated in child pornography case with confession.

While on leave at home, the Petty Officer was caught in an online Internet sting operation called “GridCop,” which targeted IP addresses associated with downloading known images of child pornography.

Based on information obtained through the online sting operation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials obtained and executed a search warrant on the house associated with the IP address. When the search warrant was executed, the Petty Officer was no longer at the residence; he was on his way back to the base where he was stationed.

After questioning members of the family who lived in the home, the Petty Officer immediately became a suspect, and ICE contacted NCIS requesting assistance with the investigation. He was then called into NCIS offices, where they interrogated the Sailor, at which time he made a full confession to downloading the child pornography and obstruction of justice. The government alleged that immediately after the Sailor learned of the investigation, he threw his laptop over the side of the ship.

Interestingly, after obtaining the confession, NCIS apparently forgot about the case, and the state and federal prosecutors declined to prosecute it. Nearly two years elapsed with the Sailor hearing nothing about his case. Then, less than one month prior to EAS’ing from the Navy, the Sailor voluntarily went to NCIS to check on the status of the case.
The Petty Officer’s inquiry was followed by NCIS reopening the nearly two-year-old investigation, and he was immediately placed on legal hold and not allowed to leave the Navy. Tim Bilecki was then contacted and retained to represent the Sailor as an Article 134 UCMJ child pornography defense lawyer in the case. The prosecution continued its investigation and was able to link the Client to downloading child pornography in other locations at various other times.

After conducting a thorough investigation, litigating the speedy trial motion, and running down all possible leads and alibis, the defense consulted with Bilecki’s computer forensic expert, and our law firm’s investigator. The conclusion was that the risks to the Client from trying the case in front of a jury were too high, so the defense negotiated a plea agreement hours before jury selection was to begin.

In the plea agreement, the government agreed to 18 months confinement versus the five or more years of prison time that would likely have resulted had the case been tried.

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