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A Helena man who was the general manager of KTVH and president of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce board in the 1990s has been sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison for receiving child pornography. 

William Sears Stebbins, 63, was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and ordered to pay $21,000 in restitution and forfeit a tablet computer. He pleaded guilty in April to receipt of child porn. 

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice says the case began in September 2018 when agents from the Helena Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force got a CyberTipline report from Google that a user had uploaded child porn files, prosecution court records said. Google also provided information that Stebbins was the user of the email account.

An investigation found that the gmail account had about 6,000 child porn images and that Stebbins, who had previously worked in Bozeman, had recently moved to Helena to live with a relative. A search of the relative’s home found that Stebbins was in a camper in the yard. Agents seized a tablet found in the camper, and a search of the tablet determined that it contained about 900 images of child porn. Stebbins admitted to investigators that the email account was his.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bartleson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, the Helena Police Department, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations. Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell presided over the case. 

In 2012, Stebbins was arrested for illegally entering an apartment and stealing checks in January 2011. He received a two-year deferred sentence in April 2013 and began working at a restaurant in Great Falls, but quit without the permission of his probation and parole officer five days later and then tested positive for methamphetamine. 

Stebbins was arrested in June 2013 and released on bond but then violated the conditions by failing to report to probation and parole. He was arrested again in October of that year and was sentenced to five years under the supervision of the Montana Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to violating the conditions of his deferred sentence. 

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