ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal judge convicted a Round Hill man yesterday on charges of receipt of child pornography and attempted destruction of evidence.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from at least November 2019 through January 2022, Max Christian Frear, 35, used a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to receive child pornography. When the FBI executed a search of the defendant’s home, law enforcement found a damaged computer storage device in Frear’s toilet. The evidence showed that Frear tried to destroy the storage device by dunking it in liquid for his 3D printer, breaking it in half, and attempting to flush it down the toilet. The FBI was able to recover and examine the storage device, which contained 84 videos and more than 5,600 images depicting child sexual abuse. Many of those files depicted the sexual abuse of prepubescent minor victims, including infants and toddlers.
Frear faces a mandatory‑minimum penalty of 5 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on May 26. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton rendered the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Halper and Trial Attorney Rachel Rothberg of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) are prosecuting the case.
Tis 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. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-183.