Sacto 9-1-1
May 1, 2012
Sacramento man convicted of child pornography, sex tourism

A 70-year-old Sacramento man was convicted today on child pornography and sex tourism charges.

A federal jury in Sacramento found James E. Johnston guilty of conspiring to produce child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, possession of child pornography and traveling in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The verdict came after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

According to testimony presented at trial, in February 2006, Johnston used his credit card to purchase a 20-day subscription to a website offering images and videos of child pornography to its customers. The website informed customers that its content was illegal. If contacted by law enforcement, they were instructed to say that their credit card had been stolen. Authorities said Johnston offered this defense during the trial.

During the time of his subscription, Johnston downloaded approximately 300 videos of child pornography, according to the news release.

Shortly afterward, according to evidence presented at trial, Johnston began an online relationship through Yahoo Messenger with a woman identifying herself as Kim Lacson from Manila, Philippines. During the course of the relationship, Johnston engaged in extensive discussion about acquiring photographs of underage women with whom he would like to have sex and his future plans to travel to the Philippines to have sex with minors.

On Aug. 12, 2006, Johnston told Lacson that he would arrive in Manila on Sept. 14 and stay at the Mandarin Oriental. He instructed Lacson to bring young girls to him on Sept. 15 and asked her to send him pictures of young candidates for his selection, officials said.

Federal Aviation Administration flight records confirmed that Johnston left San Francisco for Hong Kong on Aug. 30, 2006, and a defense witness testified that, as part of this trip, Johnston had made plans to fly to the Philippines. The plans changed, officials said, after Department of Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant at Johnston's residence on Sept. 6, 2006, looking for evidence of his illegal purchase of child pornography in February

Johnston was immediately taken into custody following his conviction. He is to be sentenced by Judge Mueller on July 18.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, with computer forensics assistance provided by the California Department of Justice.

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