HORTONVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) – A 24-year-old man from Hortonville was sentenced to 5 years in prison for the distribution of child pornography after a search warrant yielded over 7,000 videos and images.

A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states that on August 17, Colton H. Nelson was sentenced after he had previously pled guilty to the offense on May 3. Nelson was indicted on March 7.

According to court filings, in September 2022, investigators with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office conducted an online investigation on a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing platform.

Investigators noticed that a person, later identified as Nelson, was allegedly engaged in the receipt and distribution of numerous videos and images containing child sexual abuse material.

A search warrant at Nelson’s residence led to law enforcement reportedly recovering over 7,000 videos and images depicting child pornography.

During Nelson’s sentencing hearing, Senior United States District Court Judge William C. Griesbach stated that the serious nature of the offense “necessitated a sentence that would both punish Nelson and deter him from engaging in similar conduct in the future.”  

After Nelson’s 60-month prison sentence, authorities say Nelson will have five years of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.

This case was 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 U.S. Department of Justice.

This case against Nelson was investigated by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.