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ONE MAN SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS IN PRISON, TWO OTHERS PLEAD GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2013

LAKE CHARLES, La. United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that one man was sentenced and two pleaded guilty Thursday to various child pornography related charges.  The sentencing and guilty pleas were held before U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi.

KANSAS MAN SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORN

Lonnie Allen Truitt, 27, of Coffeyville, Kan., was sentenced to 50 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for production of child pornography.  According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, the defendant began text messaging a 15-year-old girl in east Texas on November 1, 2011.  Truitt convinced the girl to provide him with sexually explicit images.  Between November 15 and 30, 2011, the defendant traveled to Texas to meet with the girl.  Truitt and the girl then traveled to a camp in Lake Charles where they engaged in sex acts.  Truitt was arrested when camp staff members became suspicious and called law enforcement authorities.  He pleaded guilty on April 11, 2013.

“Today’s sentencing shows that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and its law enforcement partners will identify and seek prosecution of sexual predators everywhere regardless of where they may travel to flee from justice,” said HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr. Parmer.

EX-TUGBOAT CAPTAIN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRANSPORTING CHILD PORN

Former tugboat captain Kenneth Dwight Dickey, 57, of Foley, Ala., pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography.  According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, law enforcement authorities detected Dickey downloading child pornography using “peer-to-peer” software.  Those using peer-to-peer software usually take a file and place it in a “shared folder” on a computer for the purpose of distribution with other individuals on the internet. A search of the defendant’s computer and phone on October 15, 2012 showed that Dickey was in possession of child pornography. He also admitted to transporting child pornography from Mississippi to the Western District of Louisiana.  The child pornography on the computer was sadistic in nature.

Dickey faces up to 20 years in prison, five years to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, for transporting child pornography.

WESTLAKE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSING CHILD PORN

Michael Sonnier, 31, of Westlake, La., pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.  According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, law enforcement authorities detected Sonnier downloading child pornography using file sharing software.  A search of the defendant’s computer and phone on October 18, 2012 showed that he had downloaded more than 26 movies of hardcore child pornography, which included sadistic material depicting prepubescent children.

Sonnier faces up to 10 years in prison, five years to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for possession of child pornography.

“The defendants in these cases are child predators who participated or facilitated the abuse of children,” Finley stated.  “The public should be aware that these criminals use cell phones, computers, and other technology to connect with minors or to download images of children being sexually abused.  This office will continue to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law in order to protect the children of this community.”

Homeland Security Investigations investigated the cases.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker is prosecuting the cases.

All of the cases were 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 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 better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE.  Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp and to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. Tips may be submitted anonymously.  The Lake Charles FBI office number is (337) 433-6353.

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