Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 14, 2013

Sellers pleads on child-porn charges

Former teacher to be sentenced later this month

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — A former teacher is scheduled to be sentenced later this month after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the discovery of child pornography on his computer.

Thomas Sellers, 41, pleaded guilty last month in Boyd Circuit Court to seven counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performance by a minor, according to a news release from Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.

The charges are Class D felonies that each carry a one- to five-year prison sentence. In exchange for Sellers’ guilty plea, the commonwealth agreed to recommended Sellers serve 10 years.

Sellers’ sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27.

The charges against Sellers stem from a 2012 undercover operation by the Ohio Attorney General’s office that identified a computer possessing images of child sexual exploitation.

A subpoena revealed the Internet subscriber, who was identified as Sellers, lived in Catlettsburg. Agents from the Ohio Attorney General’s Computer Crimes Unit referred their findings to Conway’s Cybercrimes Unit for further investigation.

Cybercrimes investigators executed a search warrant at Sellers’ home, and a forensic examination of his computer found 455 images and 325 videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children.

 “The Internet is a safer place for Kentucky kids because of the efforts of my cybercrimes investigators and prosecutors,” Conway said. “I appreciate their hard work to bring this case to a successful close.”

 Since its creation in June of 2008, the Cybercrimes Unit has launched 341 child pornography investigations, seized more than 403,000 child pornographic images and videos from the Internet and has a 100 percent conviction rate. The unit is also a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

 For additional information on cybersafety in Kentucky, visit Conway’s Cybersafety Page at ag.ky.gov/cybersafety/. To report cyber abuse, visit the CyberTipline or call (800) 843-5678.