DENVER—Jon Christopher Baker, age 32, of Denver, Colorado, was charged by criminal complaint yesterday with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. Baker made his initial appearance yesterday, where he was advised of the charges pending against him, and the penalties associated with those charges. He is due back in court on Thursday, May 3, 2012, for a preliminary hearing and detention hearing.
On February 21, 2012, an FBI special agent working on an Innocent Images Operations Unit in Maryland in an undercover capacity came across a person using a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. The person was sharing two folders containing approximately 23,865 files, or about 99.7 gigabytes. The undercover special agent downloaded approximately 14 image files directly from the person, in addition to approximately 1,016 thumbnail images, the majority of which were indicative of child pornography and erotica. The FBI launched an investigation and determine the person sharing the files had an IP address in Denver, and was named Jon C. Baker. A search of the Colorado Sex Offender Registry revealed one positive result for a Jon C. Baker, also with an address in Denver. The Maryland FBI agent then sent all reports and images to the FBI in Denver for further investigation.
An FBI special agent reviewed the materials, including images and chats with Baker. A query of a court database for the state of Colorado revealed that Jon C. Baker had been found guilty of sexual exploitation of a child in 1998. Baker was subsequently required to register as a sex offender. The conviction came out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. A query of another database revealed an active investigation into similar conduct in Denver. Baker’s prior crimes occurred when he worked as a babysitter.
The Denver FBI special agent, working in an undercover capacity, contacted Baker via the chat feature of the peer-to-peer program. The chat resulted in the undercover agent downloading images containing child pornography. On April 27, 2012, a search warrant was executed at Baker’s apartment. Agents found a computer and a separate hard drive. The hard drive contained approximately 30,000 images and 1,400 videos of child pornography. Baker was then taken into custody.
“Those who possess and distribute child pornography do so at their own peril,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Images that victimize children may cross state lines; but so do investigations and prosecutions. In this case an FBI agent in Maryland identified a child pornography in Denver, and as a result of the two FBI offices coordinating, the defendant was identified and arrested.”
“Our Innocent Images Task Force is committed to protecting children by identifying and prosecuting sexual predators that victimize them,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “This subject, a previously convicted sex offender, is a prime example of the individuals investigated by the FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force.”
If convicted of possession of child pornography, Baker faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. If the defendant has a prior conviction for similar conduct, then he would face not less than 10 years, and not more than 20 years’ imprisonment. If convicted of distribution of child pornography, Baker faces not less than five years, and not more than 20 year imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction for similar conduct, then he would face not less than 15 years, and not more than 40 years’ imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Innocent Images Task Force.
Baker is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewarts Wolak, the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A criminal complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony crime has a constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
The charges contained in the complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Projectsafechildhood.gov.