Ocean Springs man ‘despicably violated the human rights of children’ investigator said

Philip Spear
Philip Spear

An Ocean Springs man will spend the rest of his life behind bars in a federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges in U.S. District Court.

District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. sentenced Philip Joseph Spear to 160 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release for producing, transporting, distributing and possessing child pornography.

Spear, 59, pleaded guilty March 9 to a six-count bill of information. His victims ranged in age from infant to 16 years old.

Spear was accused of producing, possessing, transporting and distributing child pornography. He is also accused of videotaping a 15- or 16-year-old girl he knows having oral sex with him, according to an investigator’s sworn affidavit.

The crimes occurred between Feb. 14, 2010, and Sept. 8, 2016.

He also was ordered to pay $47,500 in restitution to his victims and was given a special assessment of $30,000 for a related crime under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

The FBI raided Spear’s home in September 2016 and seized electronic devices including computers, hard drives, a digital camera, a media card and an iPad. A forensic examination showed images and videos of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

“A principle part of the FBI’s mission is to protect the American people, and we are especially dedicated to the most vulnerable among us — children,” said Christopher Freeze, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “Phillip Spear despicably violated the human rights of children and stole their innocence.

“We hope his sentencing of 1,920 months (160 years) in federal prison sends a strong warning and clear message to others who take par in unspeakable crimes against children.”

The case was investigated by the FBI Jackson Division’s Child Exploitation Task Force, made up of agents from the FBI and Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, deputies from the Prentiss County Sheriff’s Office and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Oxford and Jackson.

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy