Owensville man sentenced to 25 years in federal prison on child pornography plea

Dave Marner
Managing Editor

An Owensville man was sentenced April 3 in U.S. District Court  to 25 years in federal prison for production of child pornography and the transportation of the pornography using electronic media in a case investigated by Owensville police with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security and the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. 

Michael S. Foster, 28 at the time of his guilty plea on Dec. 12, 2018, before District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.,  was ordered last week by Limbaugh to be transported by U.S. Marshals directly to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at Marion, Ill. Limbaugh ordered that Foster be evaluated for participation in a sex offender management program and mental health treatment consistent with Bureau of Prison policies.

Foster has been in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service since his arrest at his apartment on South Fourth Street in March 2018. The charges stem from incidents which took place in Jefferson County on Dec. 17, 2017, when he photographed a minor child’s genitals, and on March 24, 2018, when a search of his residence and technology devices uncovered evidence he had used these images in a manner consistent with distribution of child pornography.

A federal court filing made Dec. 12, 2018, as a “plea supplement” when Foster initially entered his guilty plea gives a strong hint at why his sentence is so severe. 

Foster was sentenced to two concurrent 300-month long sentences, along with another concurrent 60-month term, for his guilty pleas to the three-count indictment issued against him following his arrest in March 2018. 

“Defendant has not provided substantial assistance to the Government and the Government will not be filing a motion for downward departure on defendant’s behalf absent additional cooperation,” according to U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen’s “statement regarding cooperation” which was originally filed under court seal.

Court records show Foster will be subject to court supervision for life as a convicted child pornographer.

During Foster’s 20-minute long sentencing hearing, a statement from the victim’s mother was read into the record.

Additional details about the sentencing agreement were not publicly available since they were sealed by the judge. Foster’s attorney, Lucille G. Liggett, an assistant federal public defender, had on March 22 sought to seal the records in a “motion for a variance” citing “it contains very personal information about Foster,” according to court records. Limbaugh agreed to the request on March 25.

Foster was ordered to pay a $300 special assessment immediately.