MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 50-year-old Minneapolis man pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography. Robert Andrew Gozola pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. Gozola, who was indicted on May 8, 2012, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank.
In his plea agreement, Gozola admitted that on November 23, 2011, he sent images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct to an undercover police officer over a peer-to-peer file sharing program. In addition, Gozola admitted possessing more than 6,000 similar images on his computer, some of which included sadistic or masochistic content. The computer, on which Gozola had installed the peer-to-peer program, was seized during the execution of state search warrant at his residence on January 19, 2012. For his crime, Gozola faces a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Cybercrime Task Force, which includes the Minneapolis Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.
Distribution of child pornography is against the law. In addition to prosecuting these cases, the Justice Department is presently funding a study focused on the correlation between involvement in child pornography and hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study (The Butner Study) published in the “Journal of Family Violence” found that up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “Resources.”