Crime & Courts

Columbia man sentenced on child porn charges

A Columbia man will spend two years in prison on child pornography charges, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

Osvaldo Gonzalez, 50, of Columbia, was sentenced in federal court for possession of child pornography. U.S. Judge Cameron McGowan Currie sentenced Gonzalez to 24 months in prison, to be followed by supervised release for 10 years. Gonzalez will also be required to register as a sex offender and to perform 240 hours of community service.

Evidence presented during court hearings showed that in May of 2007, an FBI agent from Youngstown, Ohio, downloaded several images of child pornography from a computer owned by Gonzalez through peer-to-peer computer software. These programs enable users to trade files with other computer users. They also generally make images on the user’s computer available to others who have loaded compatible software on their computers.

Based on the images obtained, FBI agents obtained and executed a federal search warrant on July 27, 2007. During the search, Gonzalez admitted to using the peer-to-peer software to obtain child pornography. Agents seized his computer and a CD-Rom disc. A forensic analysis of these items discovered other images of child pornography.

The case, investigated by the FBI, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

-- From Staff Reports