A Maryland man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Indianapolis to seven counts of child pornography production and was sentenced to 33 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett of the Southern District of Indiana.
Trevor J. Shea, 21, of Mechanicsburg, Md., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence in the Southern District of Indiana.
During today’s plea and sentencing hearing, Shea admitted to using blackmail to coerce 10 minor girls between the ages of 13 and 16 years to produce images and videos of themselves engaging in sadistic and masochistic abuse and other sexually explicit conduct.
According to court documents, the case arose from an investigation by the Brownsburg, Ind., Police Department, which received a complaint in late September 2009 that Jane Doe 1, a 16-year-old girl, was being stalked via the internet. Jane Doe 1 and a family member reported that several months earlier, Jane Doe 1 and two other female minors visited an online webcam site where they exposed their breasts to unknown webcam viewers.
Approximately one week later, Jane Doe 1 began receiving emails and instant messages from Shea, who threatened to post the nude images of Jane Doe 1 and her friends to the internet. Shea told Jane Doe 1 that if she produced more images and/or webcam videos for him, he would not post the photos for others to see. Jane Doe 1 complied with some of these demands, and produced images and videos of herself engaging in sexually explicit conduct. She then transmitted the images and videos to him.
Working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Brownsburg Police Department traced the internet communications and a federal search warrant was obtained and executed at Shea’s Maryland home on March 4, 2010. Evidence was recovered during that search showing that numerous females around the country were victimized by Shea in a manner virtually identical to Jane Doe 1. Five of these other victims were identified as minor girls.
On June 9, 2010, Shea was indicted on four counts of production of child pornography for his conduct against Jane Doe 1. Shea made an initial appearance on these charges and was released to his Maryland home on conditions, including home detention with electronic monitoring and a prohibition on his use of a computer or the Internet.
In early November 2010, while Shea was on pretrial release, the Santa Rosa County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department interviewed “Jane Doe 2,” a 16-year-old girl. Jane Doe 2 reported that in 2009, an individual, later determined to be Shea, threatened her via the internet and coerced her to produce nude images. The search of Shea’s residence in March 2010 recovered images of Jane Doe 2 from Shea’s computer, but she had not yet been identified by law enforcement. Jane Doe 2 reported that in November 2010, she was contacted again by the individual, who threatened to disseminate the nude images that he previously had obtained from her, and demanded new nude images. In response to this threat, Jane Doe 2 made videos that depicted herself engaging in sexually explicit conduct and emailed them to Shea.
Following Jane Doe 2’s report in November 2010, investigators determined that the email account to which Jane Doe 2 had been coerced to send the images and videos of herself was being accessed by an individual at Shea’s residence. Florida law enforcement coordinated with the Brownsburg Police Department and USPIS, and a federal search warrant was executed at Shea’s residence on Dec. 22, 2010. Shea was arrested again that day, detained, and he has since remained in custody.
Investigators determined that in addition to Jane Doe 2, Shea similarly victimized three other minor girls in November and December 2010 while he was on pretrial release. On Sept. 13, 2011, Shea was charged with three additional counts of production of child pornography for his conduct against these four minor girls.
The case against Shea was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Brant Cook of the Southern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Bonnie L. Kane of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The case was investigated by the Brownsburg Police Department, USPIS, Indiana State Police, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force . Substantial assistance was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section’s High Technology Investigative Unit, and Maryland State Police.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.