Feds arrest Jasper man on child pornography counts

From local sources

JASPER — During a press conference this morning at the Jasper Train Depot, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett provided details about the federal arrest of Kurtis W. Head , 33, of 339 W. 43rd St., on 12 counts of receiving child pornography. He has been in federal custody since July 31.

Authorities also allege he may have been responsible for the sexual abuse of a girl younger than 14 two years ago. In regard to that allegation, he is facing state felony counts of child molesting, criminal confinement and child exploitation.

The federal indictment alleges Head knowingly downloaded and received and attempted to download and receive images and videos transmitted through an Internet connection depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

“These cases are always difficult, both as a prosecutor and as a parent,” Hogsett said. “But they are important, not just to ensure the safety of Hoosier children, but also to send a message that we will not tolerate such behavior in our communities. You are not anonymous online — If you engage in this activity, we will find you and you will be held accountable.”

Head was arrested after a collaborative investigation that involved Homeland Security agents and the Jasper Police Department. Hogsett said Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force detectives connected to a computer online that was sharing images and videos of child pornography. That activity allegedly then was traced to Head’s apartment in Jasper.

Jasper officers assisted Homeland Security agents July 31 in serving a federal search warrant at Head’s residence. Law enforcement allegedly located a hard drive that contained thousands of images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexual conduct. Hogsett said, during a July 31 interview, that Head indicated an interest in girls ages 9 to 12. The images and videos seized bear that out, Hogsett added.

He also said the sexual abuse allegation resulting in state charges was a result of the federal investigation. Addressing that alleged abuse last month, the Jasper Police Department announced that Head was in federal custody but, in state courts, he is facing Class C felony counts of child molesting, criminal confinement and child exploitation.

Jasper police allege that in May 2010, at an apartment in Jasper, Head inappropriately touched a girl younger than 14. Charging information additionally alleges Head confined the girl and a boy also younger than 14 inside the apartment and presented pornography to them.

Hogsett underscored the cooperation of Jasper police and the Dubois County Prosecutor’s Office, saying they have been exemplary in their level of assistance on the case.

The federal charges carry a penalty of between five and 20 years on each count upon conviction. In addition, according to U.S. Attorney Lauren Wheatley, who is prosecuting the case, Head could be sentenced to years of supervised release at the end of his prison term, as well as lifetime registration as a sexual offender.

Head is being federally charged as part of Operation Community Watch, a new effort through which Hogsett aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children, and as part of Project Safe Childhood, a larger nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation.

Over the last year, according to Hogsett, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has successfully identified more than 120 child victims, including minors in Indiana and numerous other places in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland and other countries.

Contact The Herald at news@dcherald.com.

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