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United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Joshua Bates, age 38, of Columbus, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, for possessing child pornography.  United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher sentenced Bates to 120 months in prison.  There is no parole in the federal system.  After Bates’s release from prison, he will begin a 15-year term of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.     

On October 11, 2019, police officers executed a search warrant at Bates’s residence in Columbus.  Officers obtained Bates’s laptop computer.  Computer forensics later showed that there were about 273 images of child pornography, including videos, saved on the laptop.  Bates knew that the images of child pornography were saved on his laptop.  Prior to October 11, 2019, Bates had previously been convicted of child pornography offenses in Nebraska.  On May 9, 2008, Bates was convicted in Douglas County, Nebraska, for eight (8) counts of child pornography offenses. 

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was investigated by the Columbus Police Department. 

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