Recidivist Sex Offender, Blake Forest Watson Is Sentenced To 15 Years For Receiving Child Pornography
(STL.News) Today, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn sentenced Blake Forest Watson, 65, of Nebo, N.C., to 180 months in prison on child pornography charges, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, Judge Cogburn ordered Watson to serve a lifetime under court supervision upon completion of the prison term and to register as a sex offender.
Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Gregory Forest, Chief U.S. Probation Officer of the U.S. Probation Office in the Western District of North Carolina, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Watson was previously convicted of child pornography in the Western District of Tennessee and was sentenced to 96 months in prison and five years of supervised release. A condition of Watson’s supervised release involved warrantless searches.
On July 22, 2021, federal probation officers conducted a warrantless search at Watson’s residence. Court records show that law enforcement located in the residence an unapproved wireless tablet, the background of which was an image of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor female.
Law enforcement also retrieved a laptop from the residence. A forensic analysis of the electronic devices revealed that Watson had been using them to receive images and videos of child pornography, some of which depicted minors engaging in sadistic and masochistic conduct. In total, Watson possessed in excess of 3,000 images depicting child pornography.
On January 31, 2022, Watson pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked HSI and the U.S. Probation Office for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis I. Solheim of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.