News and Press Releases

Davenport Man Sentenced to 90 Years in Federal Prison for Production of Child Pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4 , 2011

Tampa, Florida - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill and Susan McCormick, Special Agent-in-Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announces that U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich today sentenced Wesley William Brandt (46, Davenport) to 90 years in federal prison for production of child pornography.

In June of 2011, Brandt pled guilty to three counts of production of child pornography. According to court documents and proceedings, in February 2008, Brandt, posing as a 17-year-old boy, began communicating online with a 13-year-old girl from Colorado. During these communications and through the use of other online personas, Brandt threatened and coerced the Colorado victim to produce sexually explicit photographs of herself and her 6-year-old sister. Specifically, Brandt threatened to create a public website and post sexually explicit images of the victim if she did not send him additional sexually explicit images of herself. Brandt was also introduced to the 13-year-old female cousin of the Colorado victim and similarly threatened and coerced her to produce sexually explicit photographs of herself. A subsequent search of Brandt’s home yielded computers and computer storage devices containing multiple images of child pornography.

“This case warrants the attention of law enforcement and parents everywhere,” stated United States Attorney Robert O’Neill. “The protection of our children from sexual exploitation by such individuals remains a priority of the Department of Justice and we intend on enforcing these crimes at the highest level possible.”

"The court's sentence clearly reflects the seriousness of this awful crime," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. "We can't erase the pain and suffering of the victims, but our aggressive pursuit of these cases with our law enforcement partners sends a powerful warning about the significant consequences involved for those who commit these crimes."

This case was investigated by ICE HSI. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie B. Harris of the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Andrew M. McCormack of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

It is also a case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov and click on the tab “other resources.”

This case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate, and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

 

 

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