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Blackfoot man sentenced to 24 years following convictions for distribution and possession of child pornography


POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – A 41-year-old Blackfoot man was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for two counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced Wednesday. 

Joseph Hornof was convicted of all three charges by a federal jury sitting in Pocatello after a three-day trial in January 2023. Hornof faced a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence due to a prior sex offense against a child from 2009 in Bannock County.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Hornof, used the Kik messenger application to communicate with an undercover officer in North Carolina. Hornof shared videos and images of child pornography with the officer. Hornof then directed the officer to join a social media group called “pedophilia” that Hornof administered. In that group, Hornof distributed 24 videos of child pornography to other members of the group. Law enforcement later served a search warrant at Hornof’s residence in Blackfoot. After seizing his laptop and cellphone, officers discovered additional images of child pornography on the devices.

U.S. Chief District Judge David C. Nye also sentenced Hornof to 15 years of supervised release, which will commence upon completion of his prison sentence. Hornof was ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution to the victims in the images that he possessed and distributed.

“While it is comforting to know that this defendant has been removed from our community, our work to protect Idaho’s children continues,” U.S. Attorney Hurwit said. “Along with our law enforcement partners, we will spare no effort in tracking down and holding accountable anyone who peddles child pornography in Idaho.”

“There is constant work involved in keeping children safe from predators whether online or in person, and this 24 year sentence helps to do just that,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “HSI highly values our partnerships with the ICAC taskforce as well as the law enforcement agencies involved in making this arrest, as investigations of this type are only successful with our collective expertise.”

U.S. Attorney Hurwit commended the cooperative efforts of the Idaho Falls Police Department, Idaho ICAC Task Force, Boone North Carolina Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which led to the charges. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Blackadar and John Shirts prosecuted this case.

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