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Case Number: 1:20-cr-00081-WO
Judge: William L. Osteen, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (Guilford County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Greensboro, NC: Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with possession of child pornography.
Michael Scott Kivett, 41, was previously convicted in Guilford County of multiple counts of Second Degree Exploitation of a Minor in 2001 and, again, in 2009. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender.
In September 2019, Google made a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline that child pornography images were uploaded to a Google Photos account. The images included prepubescent minors engaged in sex acts. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Computer Crimes Unit, the lead agency of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, received the tip and directed it to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, a task force member.
Randolph County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Joshua Hartong determined that the Google account belonged to Kivett and, in November 2019, he and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jessie Foster confronted Kivett and seized his phone. On the phone, investigators found 108 images and 126 videos depicting child pornography. Kivett admitted to viewing and downloading child pornography using a foreign cloud-based instant messaging application that offers end-to-end encrypted "secret" chatting. Kivett was arrested and detained on state charges.
He was charged in the Middle District of North Carolina in February 2020 and pled guilty to a superseding indictment charging him with receiving child pornography in November 2019 after having already been convicted of a child pornography offense.
“Protecting children from online sexual exploitation is a high priority,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston. “In North Carolina, the ICAC task force, spearheaded by the SBI, leads these efforts. Active task force participation by our local partners like the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office is critical, especially given the increase in CyberTipline reports. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the investigators who work these cases.”
“Increased use of and access to the Internet during the pandemic has led to more opportunities for offenders to come into contact with teenagers and children. We greatly appreciate our partnerships with agencies advocating for increased public awareness and those who have contacted law enforcement with tips that make the Internet a safer place for children,” said Randolph County Sheriff Greg Seabolt.
“Kivett is being held accountable for his continued involvement and delight in the disgusting images of children being exploited, “said Special Agent In Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “Every time one of these images is shared or viewed it revictimizes an innocent person and HSI along with its partners will continue to search for, arrest and bring to justice anyone involved in this heinous crime.”
NCMEC’s CyberTipline is the nation’s centralized reporting system for the online exploitation of children. The public and electronic service providers can make reports of suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, child sexual molestation, child sexual abuse material, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet. https://www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline.
According to the Computer Crimes Unit, https://www.ncsbi.gov/Divisions/Field-Operations/Computer-Crimes.aspx, NCMEC CyberTipline reports have increased dramatically in recent years.
“The North Carolina ICAC Task Force is only successful because of the partnerships of local, state, and federal agencies working together to investigate some of the most heinous crimes that are perpetrated against some of the most vulnerable in our society,” said NC ICAC Task Force Commander Kevin Roughton. “As more children are online every day in an increasingly virtual world, the work of ICAC Task Force members is more important now than ever.”
18:2252A(a)(2)(A) and (b)(1) Receive child pornography
18:2252A(a)(2)(A) and (b)(l); Receive Child Pornography
Outcome: 10/06/2021 29 STIPULATION REGARDING RESTITUTION as to MICHAEL SCOTT KIVETT. (Welch, Kelly) (Entered: 10/06/2021)
10/06/2021 Minute Entry for proceedings held before JUDGE WILLIAM L. OSTEEN, JR., in G-1: Sentencing hearing as to MICHAEL SCOTT KIVETT held on 10/6/2021. AUSA Eric Iverson present on behalf of Government. AFPD Ira Knight appeared on behalf of Defendant. Defendant present in custody. (Judgment forthcoming.) (Court Reporter Joseph Armstrong.) (Welch, Kelly) (Entered: 10/06/2021)
Defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release.