MISSOULA - A jury on Wednesday convicted a former Missoula resident of transporting, distributing and receiving child pornography using the internet and social media.
U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich says that following a three-day trial, the jury found Taurean Jerome Weber, 39, formerly of Missoula and currently of Littleton, Colorado, 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 trial began on July 11. Weber faces a mandatory minimum of five years to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years to life of supervised release.
“Weber’s distribution of child pornography perpetuated the sexual exploitation and abuse of children for his own gratification. It was wrong and disgusting. We are committed to protecting children from this horrible crime and will be resolute in our efforts to hold those who prey on them accountable. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cyndee L. Peterson and Karla E. Painter, along with the Missoula Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and FBI for investigating and prosecuting this case,” Laslovich said.
The government alleged in court documents that from about September 2016 to July 2020, Weber used Dropbox and Instagram to transport child pornography images and a computer to distribute 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.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cyndee L. Peterson and Karla E. Painter are prosecuting the case, which was investigated by Missoula Police Department Detective Katie Hall, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided over the trial. Judge Christensen set sentencing for Nov. 18.