LUCAMA, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wilson County man was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison for the receipt and possession of child sexual abuse material, the Department of Justice said Thursday.
Federal authorities said Jason Ray Batten, 39, of Lucama, had the materials between April 2020 and August 2021. He pled guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography on Feb. 7.
According to court documents and other information presented in court, an online undercover employee observed a user of the social media platform Kik posting links containing child sexual abuse material on Nov. 23, 2020. Investigators traced the IP address used by the account back to North Carolina and ultimately to Batten.
On Aug. 24, 2021, investigators executed a search warrant at Batten's home and confronted him at a nearby property. According to authorities, Batten made a number of admissions, including that he had been involved in the transmission, receipt, and possession of child pornography for approximately four years and was a member of multiple online groups known for sharing of such material, and that he and even served as the moderator of one group.
Investigators subsequently found numerous image and video files depicting the sexual abuse of minors as young as infants. Several of the videos were more than 10 minutes long.
U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle dispensed the sentence of 144 months for Batten.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wilson County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and Greenville Police Department investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan M. Stephany prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.