Lucas Anthony Nichols, the former Knox County bus driver indicted of child pornography last year, has been sentenced nearly 22 years to federal prison.
Nichols, 40, of Knoxville, was sentenced on Wednesday, Nov. 28 by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 262 months in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography.
Following his release from prison, Nichols will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years and be required to register with the sex offender registry in any state in which he resides, works, or attends school.
In April 2018, Nichols pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from an undercover investigation into the storage of child pornography over the Internet. Search warrants were issued for Nichols’ online storage account and his residence.
The seized evidence revealed that Nichols had saved thousands of images and videos of child pornography on his online storage account, including sadistic depictions of the sexual abuse of young children.
“The receipt and collection of child pornography is a serious crime that perpetuates the victimization of children and fuels the demand for the production of more child pornography,” said J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. “Our office commends the collaborative law enforcement efforts taken to bring this defendant to justice.” added U.S. Attorney Overbey.
This investigation was conducted by the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris represented the United States in court proceedings.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.
Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC 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.