Former Casper Resident Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography for a Second Time
On Tuesday afternoon a former Casper resident appeared at the Natrona County's federal courthouse for a change of plea hearing.
Brian Joseph Nielsen pled guilty to the single charge -- possession of child pornography, a second offense -- with a plea deal in place asking the judge to impose between 11.25 and 14 years in prison. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
As part of the deal, Nielsen agreed to release a Nokia cellphone that was allegedly used to obtain child pornography.
The defendant was originally sentenced in the federal courthouse in Casper by Judge Downes in January 2011 to a term of 11.25 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised probation, but in February 2020 he appeared before the court again on a probation revocation after he violated the condition requiring him to only access the Internet with a probation-approved device with filtering software installed.
At that time they sentenced him to six months in prison with 15 years supervised release to follow. Nielsen's public defender, David Weiss, said:
"Your Honor, Brian got out of a very lengthy jail sentence, which I can only imagine trying to reintegrate into society after about ten years in custody. He got out at the most stressful time of year, which is the holidays, and quite frankly quickly reoffended. We did not admit to violation one, but hypothetically speaking, had violation number one been committed, there is an obscenity charge on the books which carries the same penalties and enhanced penalties with a prior conviction as the child porn statues, which is ten years for a second offense. The United States is not intending to charging that, but that certainly should be an enormous wake-up call to Mr. Nielsen in terms of potential setbacks."
Weiss argued that treatment would be important for Brian's shot at success, and said "we're well aware that this is a generous recommendation," adding, "He's happy doing whatever the Court orders and realizes he's getting a break."
Now, three years later, Nielsen stood in the same courthouse and told the judge, "I purchased a cheap cell phone with a straight-talk wireless contract and started looking up child pornography."
Skavdahl noted that the defendant had procured over 600 images including sadistic masochistic abuse of a toddler.
Sentencing will take place at a later date.