MISSOULA - A former Missoula resident has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of child pornography charges by a federal jury.
Taurean Jerome Weber, 40, formerly of Missoula and recently of Littleton, Colorado was found guilty of transporting, distributing and receiving child pornography using the internet and social media in July. He was also sentenced Friday to 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Weber had been found guilty of all eight counts, including four counts of transportation of child pornography, three counts of distribution and one count of receipt of child pornography.
The federal government alleged in court documents, and at trial, that from about September 2016 to July 2020, Weber used Dropbox, Instagram, and electronic devices to obtain, store, and distribute child pornography.
Overall, Weber distributed or possessed at least 715 video files and 3,567 images of sexually explicit conduct which, under the guidelines, equates to 57,192 images. The government presented evidence that Instagram repeatedly disabled Weber’s accounts for distributing the content, yet Weber quickly created new accounts and resumed sharing child pornography.
An investigation began in October 2019 when Instagram reported child pornography on its platform to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which sends those CyberTips to members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for investigation.
According to a news release, records obtained through subpoenas and search warrants found evidence that Weber was the creator and user of the social media and email accounts. Investigators served a search warrant on Weber’s residence, seized computers and storage devices and determined they contained video and image files depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
The government further alleged Weber used multiple usernames on multiple platforms to purchase and trade child pornography and that his collection contained a who’s who of identified series of child pornography by NCMEC.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen — who presided over the case — also ordered that $27,000 be paid to nine victims who sought restitution.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cyndee L. Peterson and Karla E. Painter prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Missoula Police Department Det. Katie Hall, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and FBI.