Previously convicted sex offender sentenced to 10 years for possession of child pornography

Prison Previously convicted sex offender sentenced to 10 years for possession of child pornographyBALTIMORE – A previously convicted sex offender is going to prison after being caught in the possession of child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis on Thursday sentenced Harold Michael Nicol, 53, of Cumberland, to 10 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for possessing child pornography.

Judge Garbis ordered that upon his release from prison, Nicol must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student. In 1997, Nicol was convicted of a sex offense in the Allegany County Circuit Court.

In November 2011, during an undercover internet investigation into a file-sharing program, an undercover officer downloaded four files containing images of a prepubescent minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct with adults. A subsequent probe revealed that the files were being made available for download by Nicol from his home computer. A search warrant was executed at Nicol’s residence in Cumberland.

Computers and storage media were seized, along with a .270 caliber rifle and a .50 caliber muzzle loader rifle. Because of his previous felony conviction, Nicol is prohibited from possessing firearms. Nicol’s computers and storage media were forensically examined and revealed that Nicol possessed over 400 images of child pornography.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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