Federal jury finds Ronceverte man guilty of child pornography crimes 

BECKLEY (WVDN) – After four days of trial, a federal jury convicted Jason Shortridge, 29, of Ronceverte, of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography, according to a June 13 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of West Virginia.

Evidence at trial revealed that on May 1, 2019, Shortridge downloaded and made available for sharing child pornography online using a peer-to-peer file sharing program. Law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant at Shortridge’s residence and seized a computer belonging to Shortridge. A forensic examination of the computer located hundreds of images of child pornography, primarily from the deleted space of the computer. Two computer forensic experts testified that during their examination of Shortridge’s computer, they recovered child pornography as well as search terms used to actively search for child pornography. Evidence showed that Shortridge possessed over 600 computer graphic image files containing images and videos of child pornography involving prepubescent minors.

Shortridge faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced.

“Such crimes of child sexual exploitation must never be tolerated, and I commend the investigative work of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia State Police, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI),” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “I also commend Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Blackwell and Monica D. Coleman and the trial team for prosecuting the case.”

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the jury trial.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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