EAST ST. LOUIS – A U.S. District judge announced a sentence of a Worden man to serve seven years in federal prison after he admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Joseph Vieth, 36, was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, $5,000 in special assessments and $6,000 in restitution to the victims.

Following his prison sentence, he will serve five years of supervised release.

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“Law enforcement recovered hundreds of images of CSAM from the defendant’s phone —photos and videos taken of real children being abused in sexually-explicit situations,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “Vieth furthered the exploitation of the victims depicted by viewing and distributing the material, and his substantial prison sentence is warranted.”

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According to court documents, Vieth was active in an online group identified as a messaging outlet for distributing child pornography from March 28 through Oct. 18, 2021. On four occasions between May 7 and June 21, 2021, he communicated with undercover law enforcement officers and distributed five different videos containing CSAM. Vieth also communicated with undercover law enforcement about meeting to sexually abuse a minor.

“The FBI prioritizes targeting those who put the safety of our children in jeopardy,” said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. “Our proactive efforts are designed to put those intent on harming children behind bars. This case and the resulting sentence represent the effectiveness of our efforts.”

On Oct. 5, 2021, Agents executed a search warrant on the defendant’s house and seized multiple electronic devices. While searching his cell phone, agents uncovered more than 600 images of CSAM. The FBI Springfield Field Office led the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Burns prosecuted the case.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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.

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