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Marshfield man sentenced for child porn

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- A Marshfield man will spend ten years in a federal prison after being found guilty of possessing child pornography... again. 54-year-old James Pearson was given that sentence by U.S.District Judge William Conley Wednesday. When he gets out, Pearson will spend thirty years on supervised release.

Pearson was arrested after an undercover Marshfield officer successfully downloaded 831 naked child images from Pearson’s computer. When executing the search warrant, they found Pearson had over 3,000 pornographic images featuring children on his computer and cellphone.

Pearson pled guilty in November.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger says this is a type of case her office will handle federally. "Especially when there's a case where someone has a previous conviction like Mr. Pearson has, the federal government will use all its resources to prosecute someone for these crimes." She added, "We decided to prosecute it federally because of Mr. Pearson's very serious criminal record, and because he is a multiple time offender the Federal laws mandate there's a ten year mandatory sentence."

Attorney Pfluger says Pearson’s past record influenced their decision about how to pursue the case. "Because Mr. Pearson has four convictions and those convictions qualify as previous sexual felonies, there's a 10 year mandatory minimum in the federal system. And that's why we decided to take this serious case federally."

Pfluger says child pornography turns into a vicious cycle of abuse. "The child is victimized when the picture is taken, but also continually victimized throughout their life as these pictures are spread across the internet. These images, once they're distributed, are never going to go away, they're not going out of circulation, it's not possible."

Pearson prior convictions include attempted second degree sexual assault and fourth degree sexual assault in La Crosse County. Pearson also had two prior Sex Offender Registry violation convictions from South Carolina. The charge against Pearson was the result of an investigation conducted by the Marshfield Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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