Reno man indicted for child sexual exploitation and child pornography offenses, following HSI, multiagency, investigation

RENO, Nev. – A Reno man made his initial court appearance Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of children and child pornography offenses following a multiagency investigation lead by Northern Nevada Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force of which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is an active participant.

According to allegations in the indictment, James Patrick Burns, 53, threatened two children on social media applications to coerce them into producing multiple images and videos of child pornography. Burns then advertised and distributed those child pornography images and videos online to others. In addition, he allegedly advertised, possessed, distributed, and received sexually explicit images of children. Burns is registered as a sex offender related to a previous conviction. 

Burns is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of advertising child pornography, one count of distribution and receipt of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William G. Cobb and was detained pending trial.

A jury trial has been scheduled to begin on Jan. 3, 2022, before Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du. If convicted, Burns faces a statutory maximum penalty of 50 years in prison for each count of child exploitation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada is prosecuting the case.

The FBI, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Sparks Police Department, Nevada Attorney General’s Office, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office participated in the investigation.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with NCMEC, ICAC partners, and other federal, state and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of DHS and a vital U.S. asset in combatting transnational crime and threats. One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

Learn more about HSI’s mission in Arizona @HSIPhoenix.

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