Mountain Home Man Sentenced to Over 24 Years for Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BOISE – A Mountain Home man was sentenced to 292 months in federal prison for distribution and possession of child pornography.

According to court records, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined that Matthew Eric Cairns, 39, of Mountain Home, was a member of several social media groups where child pornography was being discussed or shared. The FBI determined that Cairns was the administrator of one of the groups, which gave him the authority to create rules of conduct for the group, remove members from the group, and facilitate discussions. While participating in one of the groups, Cairns shared a link to a file folder containing numerous files of child pornography, including a video depicting a toddler engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The FBI obtained a federal search warrant for Cairns’ residence in Mountain Home to search for evidence of the possession of child pornography. When the FBI executed the search warrant, Cairns attempted to conceal his cellphone in an air conditioning vent in his bedroom. The FBI seized the cellphone and located over 500 images and 48 videos of child pornography. The FBI also located evidence that Cairns had been communicating online with a 10-year-old child and had requested that she send him explicit videos of herself. The FBI located several videos of child pornography depicting the 10-year-old child on Cairns’ cellphone.

Senior U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Cairns to serve ten years of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay $18,000 in restitution to victims in the images he possessed. Judge Winmill also ordered Cairns to forfeit the cellphone that was used to commit the offense. As a result of the conviction, Cairns will be required to register as a sex offender.

U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the FBI, United States Marshals Service, and the Mountain Home Police Department, which led to charges. “The collaboration between city and federal partners in this case shows our joint commitment to protecting Idaho’s children and holding predators accountable to the full extent of the law,” said Gonzalez.

“Our children should be protected, not preyed on by criminals like Matthew Cairn,” said Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI. “He not only helped proliferate this deplorable crime but subjected young victims to emotional and physical harm that they may never get over in their lifetime. The well-deserved sentence should send a strong message to those who sexually exploit children that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will track down and prosecute these criminals to fullest extent.”

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

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