Havre Daily News
A Havre man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to felony counts of receipt and possesion of child pornography.
Preston J. Bushard, 25, pleaded guilty to both charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula, a U.S. Attorney's Office press release said. Sentencing is set for Feb. 3.
In August of 2004, while Bushard was living in Missoula, his then wife contacted the Missioula Police Department and reported that she had found child pornography on his computer, Missoula police detective Guy Baker said today.
Baker said Bushard's computer was seized and sent to the state Department of Justice for forensic analysis. There, an expert found “numerous” images of child pornography, Baker said.
During the investigation, Bushard moved back to Havre and the Havre FBI office took over the investigation, he added.
The FBI office could not be reached for comment.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a court document that Bushard admitted to viewing and downloading the images.
Prior to the investigation, Baker said, Bushard was employed as a gymnastics coach in Missoula.
Bushard faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison for the charge of receipt of child pornography. The charge of possession of child pornography carries a maximum of 10 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000 and a lifetime of supervision.
Baker, who is a member of the state cyber crimes task force, said the advent of the Internet has increased the problem of child pornography.
“The worldwide and nationwide sexual exploitation of children via the Internet is a huge problem,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Bushard is currently released from custody on special conditions.