Palisade man sentenced to 15 years for producing child pornography
By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze
Jerald Vrbas, 60, of Palisade was sentenced Monday in United States District Court for producing child pornography.
U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Vrbas to 15 years in federal prison for taking sexually explicit pictures of a young child.
Vrbas was indicted on three counts of production and manufacturing of child pornography in January.
According to a release issued by U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, after taking the pictures, Vrbas uploaded them to a Russian website. The website reported the violation and the Internet Protocol address of the offending computer to the Department of Homeland Security.
Investigation completed by Homeland Security Investigations and the North Platte Police Department determined Vrbas had also distributed the images of the child and other child pornography to an individual in Iowa and in Wauneta. In the release, Gilg expressed her thanks to the two organizations for their thorough investigation.
Gilg’s release states there is no parole in the federal prison system. After serving 15 years there, Vrbas will be on supervised release for an additional 15 years. Vrbas will be in prison until age 75 and remain under supervision until age 90.
Vrbas’ case was initiated as part of Project Safe Childhood (projectsafechildhood.gov), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.
The project 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.
In response to the charges against Vrbas, his children Dave Vrbas and Missy Blackman started Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign (nebraska
truth.org). The nonprofit group has an initial goal of creating a statewide coalition of advocates to help abused children.
In the next phase, the group hopes to create an elementary curriculum focused on the TRUTH (Tell, Respond, Understand, Treat, Heal) model.
In phase three they will begin raising funds to help income-qualified families pay for mental health care needed to overcome abuse.
The fourth phase for TRUTH will involve establishment of scholarships for victims of abuse.
The organization will host “Color Me Courageous” 5K walk/run fundraisers around the state this summer and fall. A “Color Me Courageous” event will be held in Imperial on Sept. 27.