Investigations and arrests of five online predators by Attorney General Andy Beshear’s cyber team have led to a combined projected federal prison time of nearly 60 years.
In securing the five convictions, federal prosecutors used testimony and casework by Beshear’s Department of Criminal Investigations Cyber Crimes Unit who conducted online undercover investigations before making arrests of the men from Greenup, Hardin, Jefferson and Meade counties.
“Our office works with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to ensure our communities and children are safe,” Beshear said. “I want to thank federal and state prosecutors and local and federal agencies who share our priority to protect children from sexual abuse and take those who are exploiting children off the streets.”
Each of these cases started in state court, Beshear said.
He said he appreciates each Commonwealth’s Attorney in these four counties who agreed to forego state prosecution in favor of federal court, where possession of child pornography and seeking sex with a minor carry stronger penalties if convicted.
Beshear’s investigators arrested Craig Nelson Viars, 52, at his home in Argillite, Ky., Feb. 27, 2017, for possession of child pornography following a two-week investigation. Viars was sentenced in federal court June 12 to 15 years in prison.
The Cyber Crimes Unit was assisted by the Kentucky State Police Post 14, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Beshear’s cyber investigators arrested and charged Timothy Scott Walters, 51, of Elizabethtown, March 21, 2017, with seeking sex with a minor after an investigation involving his online posts and sexually explicit photos of himself he sent to undercover cyber investigators. Walters was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison in May.
The Cyber Crimes Unit was assisted by the Elizabethtown Police Department.
Beshear’s cyber investigators arrested and charged Robert L. Tomlinson, 56, of Louisville, April 5, 2017, with seeking sex with a minor after an investigation involving his online posts and sexually explicit photos of himself he sent to undercover cyber investigators. Tomlinson was sentenced to 10 years in prison in federal court earlier this month.
Louisville Metro Police and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force assisted the Cyber Crimes Unit.
Beshear’s cyber investigators arrested and charged Scott Louis Craven, 36, of Louisville, May 1, 2017, with seeking sex with a minor after an investigation involving an online chatroom and sexually explicit photos of himself he sent to undercover cyber investigators.
Craven pleaded guilty in federal court in May and will be sentenced Aug. 13. He faces a maximum potential 10-year sentence. He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Beshear’s Cyber Crimes Unit was assisted by Louisville Metro Police Department, Third Division, and Kentucky State Police Post 12.
Beshear’s cyber investigators arrested and charged Jeffrey Adam Stone, 31, of Brandenburg, Ky., Dec. 6, 2016, after he traveled to a designated area in Louisville to engage in sex as part of an AG undercover cyber investigation.
Stone pleaded guilty in federal court in May and will be sentenced Aug. 15. He faces a maximum potential 10-year sentence. He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Louisville Metro Police Complaint Response Unit and the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force assisted Beshear’s Cyber Crimes Unit.
The work of the Department of Criminal Investigations, Cyber Crimes Unit is part of Beshear’s core mission to keep sexual predators away from Kentucky’s families and children.
Over the past two years, the number of arrests, indictments and convictions by Beshear’s cyber investigators has reached historic levels, totaling nearly 150.
As chair of the Kentucky Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board, Beshear works with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky with funding from the Child Victims’ Trust Fund to help train parents, caregivers, advocates and law enforcement on how to make the internet safer for children and protect children from sexual abuse.
Kentuckians interested in supporting the fund can visit icareaboutkids.ky.gov or designate a portion of their state income tax refund by simply checking the box on the return form.
Beshear said that Kentuckians have a moral and legal duty to report any instance of child abuse to local law enforcement or to Kentucky’s Child Abuse hotline at 877-597-2331 or 877-KYSAFE1.