A federal judge sentenced a 56-year-old Dallas man to 35 years in prison for possession of child pornography that involved a prepubescent minor.
U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced Timothy Scott Pennington, 56, on Tuesday, also ordering that Pennington serve a lifetime under court supervision upon completion of the prison term and to register as a sex offender.
“The sexual exploitation of children is a deplorable crime, and recidivist offenders who violate our nation’s child pornography laws will get the VIP treatment from federal prosecutors and our law enforcement partners. Pennington’s lengthy sentence is a testament to my office’s commitment to protect vulnerable children and bring to justice those who cause them harm,” U.S. Attorney Dena King said in a statement announcing the sentencing.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on June 1, 2021, acting on a cybertip submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, law enforcement found several images of child pornography, including those involving a toddler, in Pennington’s Google account.
On June 2, 2021, federal, state and local law enforcement searched Pennington’s home. According to court records, Pennington admitted to investigators to taking several of the child pornography images found by investigators, including images involving a toddler.
In addition, law enforcement seized two cell phones from Pennington. A forensic analysis of the devices revealed that Pennington possessed images and videos of child pornography, some of which depicted the sexual abuse of children.
Whitney applied a sentencing enhancement related to Pennington’s production of the child pornography.In fashioning the sentence, Whitney highlighted the defendant’s extensive criminal history of sexual offenses involving children and cited the need for specific deterrence, noting that the sentence would protect the public.
Court documents show that Pennington is a recidivist sex offender with prior second-degree sexual offense convictions.
Pennington served eight years in prison for 2002 sex offense convictions in Lincoln County. In 2012, he was sentenced to 10 months in prison for a Gaston County conviction of violating the terms of being a registered sex offender.
Pennington pleaded guilty in May 2022 to two counts of possession of child pornography that involved a prepubescent minor. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
King commended federal and state agencies for their work on the case, as well as the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office and the Gaston County District Attorney's Office for its assistance.
This case is 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 the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-201-7016 or email him at Kellis@gastongazette.com.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Dallas man sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for child porn