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Richmond Man Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison for Receiving Child Pornography via Peer-to-Peer Software


WASHINGTON – A Richmond, Va., man was sentenced to 87 months in prison for receipt of child pornography, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of Virginia announced today.

On April 24, 2007, the day before his trial was scheduled to begin, David Leroy Knellinger Sr., 60, pleaded guilty before the Honorable Robert E. Payne in the Richmond Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of receiving child pornography. U.S. District Judge Payne also ordered Knellinger to pay a $15,000 fine and serve five years of supervised release following his prison term.

As part of his plea agreement, Knellinger admitted to using iMesh, a peer-to-peer software program, to obtain videos depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Peer-to-peer software is a program that allows users to connect directly over the Internet to other individuals in order to trade audio, image and video files. Knellinger admitted that on April 3, 2005, he used terms associated with child pornography to search for files, and downloaded and saved three illegal videos. One of the videos depicts a girl, aged 10 or 11, performing sexual acts on an adult male. The child victim in that video has been identified by law enforcement officers; her alleged abuser, Kenneth Freeman, was a fugitive on the “15 Most Wanted” list of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. On May 2, 2007, Freeman was arrested in Hong Kong, China. He is currently contesting extradition proceedings.

In February 2006, Alberto R. Gonzales created Project Safe Children, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The investigation of Knellinger was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and arose out of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Hood for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Alexandra Gelber for the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division. Matthew Nelson, a former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, also prosecuted the case.


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