An Air Force officer faces up to 20 years for possessing nearly 60,000 pornographic images and video clips of children and sharing them online, according to federal prosecutors.

Lt. Jesse Furse entered a guilty plea in federal court on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney John Anderson’s office said.

The 35-year-old, who was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base, was arrested in February of last year.  He was indicted two months later after a grand jury concluded he distributed child pornography on eight occasions between Oct. 2015 and Jan. 2016, and possessed child pornography between May 2014 and Jan. 2016.

According to the Department of Justice in N.M., an investigation was initiated in Oct. 2015, when an agent with the New Mexico Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) Task Force, who was conducting an investigation into computers in the Albuquerque-area that were receiving, sharing, possessing and/or distributing child pornography, came upon a device using a specific IP address that allegedly was being used to share child pornography.

In Jan. 2016, after the investigation by Albuquerque Police Department revealed the IP address was registered to Furse at an address located on Kirtland AFB, the investigation was referred to Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).

On Jan. 29, 2016, AFOSI obtained a search warrant from a Military Magistrate, and AFOSI and APD executed the search warrant and seized a computer and computer-related media from Furse’s on-base residence. The FBI joined the investigation in Feb. 2016, and obtained a federal search warrant for the computer-related evidence seized from Furse’s residence in March 2016.

In an attempt to allegedly cover up the crime, the DOJ says Furse had encrypted the information on his machines.  It took a full year for the FBI to crack through Furse’s encryption to find the pornography. In all, Furse admitted to sharing 58,529 pieces of child pornography from oct. 10, 2015 to Jan. 17, 2016.  He also admitted to having an external hard drive with 13,335 pictures and 1,436 videos.

It is still not known where the pornography originated from but a report from John Q. Public claims, “Furse’s home was reportedly authorized by base officials as a child care location, with his spouse licensed to provide care. ”

John Q. Public reported in March of 2017:

“At issue is the fact that Furse’s home was reportedly authorized by base officials as a child care location, with his spouse licensed to provide care. Some are alleging that when the Air Force first learned of the allegations against Furse, it owed them a duty of care that included revoking Furse’s license, notifying the community, or both.

It’s not clear whether such a duty was rendered, and discussions about it on Kirtland’s various social media outlets are being heavily censored. Behind that censorship, if reports are to be believed, stands a powerful and influential member of the base’s “Key Spouse” network — one who has threatened commenters with unwelcome attention from law enforcement and investigative authorities if they speak out of turn. Meanwhile, parents who had their kids in the Furse home are not being given any information. They are understandably distressed.”

Each of Furse’s distribution charges carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The possession charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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