Today, Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Department of Criminal Investigations, Cyber Crimes Branch announced that an Owensboro man was found guilty on multiple counts of possessing child pornography.
A Daviess County jury found Daniel Scott Neal, 48, of Owensboro, guilty yesterday on 12 counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, Class D felonies.
The verdict concludes a four-day trial that began on Monday, July 22, in Daviess County Circuit Court. The investigation that brought these charges began in May of 2012 when investigators with the Cyber Crimes Branch identified a computer sharing images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children at Neal’s residence.
Investigators executed a search warrant on May 17, 2012 and seized multiple electronic devices. A forensic exam conducted by the Cyber Crimes Branch identified multiple images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children. A Daviess County grand jury indicted Neal in November 2012.
“We value the efforts of our Cyber Crimes Branch investigators, who were assisted by the Kentucky State Police in taking another child predator off the streets,” Beshear said. “The successful prosecution of this case was led by Mike VanMeter, assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit, and we are thankful for his hard work in delivering justice for each victim.”
The jury recommended Neal be sentenced to two years in prison on each of the 12 counts to run consecutively, meaning the recommended sentence reaches the state’s maximum 20-year punishment in prison for Class D felonies. For the rest of his life, Neal must also register as a sex offender.
Formal sentencing for Neal is scheduled for Sept. 25.
The work of the Cyber Crimes Branch under Beshear’s administration has taken a record number of child predators off the streets.
Earlier this year, the Cyber Crimes Branch announced that four men were arrested after a two-day undercover “Operation Shielded Child” predator sting in Franklin County. The operation was conducted in accordance with their mission to arrest those who seek sex with children online and produce, possess or distribute child pornography.
In April, a Louisville man who has two pending cases related to seeking sex with minors online was indicted by Beshear’s office on 39 more felony charges.
Beshear said that investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected as investigators review tens of thousands of pages of online chat conversations.
“The work of our cyber crimes investigators is truly extraordinary,” Beshear said. “They never waiver in their fight to protect our children from online predators.”
Beshear reminds Kentuckians that they 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.