The Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building

BANGOR, Maine — A former U.S. Customs officer was sentenced Thursday, Jan. 23, in Bangor District Court for possession of child pornography.

Larry O’Neal, 46, of Houlton was sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by seven years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Jon D. Levy. O’Neal was found guilty on April 26, 2019 following a four-day jury trial.

Court records and trial evidence showed that O’Neal was found with images of child pornography on his computer in January 2018, when law enforcement legally searched his home, U.S. District Attorney Halsey B. Frank said. During his trial, O’Neal pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Agents began investigating O’Neal after his computer was observed on a peer-to-peer file sharing network as having files associated with child pornography. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility and the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit.

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.

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, as well as to identify and rescue victims.