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BOISE - Steven Kutzner, 33, of Boise, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge to serve 15 months in federal prison for Possession of Obscene Visual Representations

of the Sexual Abuse of Children. Kutzner pleaded guilty in October 2010. He will also be on supervised release for three years after he is released from prison and will have to participate in sex offender treatment.

The investigation began in December 2008, after German Federal Police discovered evidence that Kutzner's IP address offered a child pornography file for download on Oct. 4 and 5, 2008. Kutzner was a teacher at Lake Hazel Middle School in Meridian and resigned immediately after the search warrant was served at his home.

"This case is troubling because Kutzner held a position of public trust as a middle school teacher," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations in the Pacific Northwest. "HSI's commitment to protecting our young ones from exploitation is unwavering."

When Homeland Security agents in Boise searched Kutzner's computer, they discovered more than 500 pornographic image files of unknown teenaged females. Because the identity of young women depicted was not known, investigators were unable to prove they were under 18 years of age. Investigators also found more than 8,000 image files of child erotica, many involving prepubescent minors. Child erotica are non-nude or semi-nude photographs and videos of children in sexually suggestive poses that are not themselves images of child pornography, but still fuel the sexual fantasies of pedophiles and others who have developed a sexual interest in minors.

The crime Kutzner pleaded guilty to involved 70 animated, cartoon pornographic images of minors, including a toddler, engaged in graphic sex acts with adults and animals.

According to court documents, Kutzner had been downloading, receiving and viewing sexually explicit images of actual children for at least eight years. He avoided being charged with a child pornography offense because he had used wiping programs to delete the child pornography images from his computer prior to execution of the search warrant.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

"This office will aggressively pursue prosecution of those who possess images depicting the sexual victimization of children," said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. "We must be vigilant in protecting our communities from those who would exploit children. I commend Assistant United States Attorney Jim Peters and the Homeland Security agents who handled this case so

effectively."

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