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Gallatin Co. man admits distributing child porn, sentenced to prison for more than 19 years

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 16:05:56-05

A 30-year-old Gallatin County man was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison after he admitted distributing child pornography using his smartphone.

Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen ordered Aaron Matthew Manning to pay $18,000 restitution and to forfeit his smartphone - and sentenced Manning to 19 years and seven months in prison and 15 years of supervised release.

Manning pleaded guilty in September to distribution of child pornography.

The prosecution said in court records that the Bozeman Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office were investigating Manning in 2016 for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old child he had met online. During the investigation, law enforcement obtained search warrants for Manning’s smartphone and his Dropbox account, a cloud-based file storage service. Investigators determined that Manning used an application known as KIK on his smartphone to trade child pornography with other KIK users and that in December 2015, Manning sent an image of a prepubescent child engaged in sexually explicit conduct to another KIK user. Manning also communicated with another KIK user and sent the user a link to his Dropbox account, which investigators determined contained images and videos of child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyndee Peterson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

This case was initiated under the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, which was launched in 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. Through a network of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations, Project Safe Childhood attempts to protect children by investigating and prosecuting offenders involved in child sexual exploitation. It is implemented through partnerships including the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The ICAC Task Force Program was created to assist state and local law enforcement agencies by enhancing their investigative response to technology facilitated crimes against children.