For release on September 26, 2013
Deputy District Attorney
Sexual Assault Unit
Snared by an international federal investigation, a 54-year-old Campbell man was convicted this week on a felony charge of possessing child pornography.
During the investigation, agents seized two of James Joseph Carothers’ computers, which contained 259 images of child erotica and pornography. Investigators also noted that, although Carothers only lived with another single man, they discovered numerous children’s toys, girls’ hair clips, as well as new and used baby diapers in his bedroom.
Carothers was found guilty of the charge Wednesday by a jury after a six-day trial before the Hon. Michele McKay McCoy. He faces up to three years in jail and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 8 in Department 26 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
“The fight against child pornography is not about images on a computer screen, but the real-life sexual abuse of helpless children," prosecutor Michel Amaral said. “This case is a credit to the cooperation between federal and local law enforcement and our office, all of us banded together to try to stop this horrific and destructive trade.”
On December 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSI) executed a search warrant at Carothers’ Superior Drive home. As part of the
“Operation Holitna” agents uncovered numerous email communications between Carothers and a convicted child pornographer named Shawn McCormack. On McCormack’s computers, agents had found evidence that the two had traded illegal images of children and that Carothers had given McCormack tips on how to molest children. The men also discussed Carothers’ sexual fetish involving his collection of used baby diapers from garbage dumpsters. They also made plans to meet in Las Vegas to share stories, photos, videos, and, in the emailed words of Carothers, to “carry out [their] ultimate actions.” “Operation Holitna” is an ongoing HSI-led investigation that originated in Boston in 2010. Forensic analysis of suspects' computer led investigators to the Netherlands where a Dutch national was arrested and charged with production, distribution and possession of child pornography, as well as the sexual abuse of 87 minors. Since the launch of the operation, more than 160 children have been rescued and 50 perpetrators arrested worldwide. The operation was named after the Holitna River in Alaska which splits into many tributaries, because each time the investigation results in an arrest, several new victims and leads are uncovered.
Said Joseph Vincent, assistant special agent in charge for HSI San Jose: "The people who produce and trade child pornography over the Internet believe they’re protected by the anonymity of cyberspace. Together with the public’s help we can prove they’re wrong and gain justice for these innocent victims.”###