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Coos Bay man gets 30 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of a 3-year-old

Federal agents arrested 33-year-old Keith Atherton in 2018, less than a day after finding child pornography that he'd shared online.

Posted: Jun 23, 2021 12:23 PM
Updated: Jun 23, 2021 12:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — A Coos Bay man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison this week after pleading guilty to sexually exploiting a 3-year-old child while producing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.

In July of 2018, an undercover agent from Homeland Security Investigations saw a video displaying child sexual abuse streamed on an online video chat, according to federal prosecutors. Less than 24 hours later, federal agents identified 33-year-old Keith James Atherton of Coos Bay and took him into custody.

The investigation into Atherton found that he'd sexually exploited the 3-year-old child, producing explicit images and videos. After searching at least 10 of Atherton's digital devices, investigators found at least 35,000 images and 8,000 videos "depicting the sexual abuse of infants, toddlers, and young children," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Within days of his arrest, a federal grand jury in Eugene indicted Atherton on three counts of using or attempting to use a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Atherton pleaded guilty to one of those charges in February of 2021, admitting to the sexual exploitation of a minor.

On Wednesday, Atherton was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

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