Middle River Woman Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Minors to Produce Child Pornography

Defendant and Her Fiancé Created Videos in Which
He Sexually Molests a Baby and a Minor Female

June 8, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson sentenced Shannon Leigh Honea, age 28, of Middle River, Maryland, today to 30 years in prison followed by supervised release for life, on two counts of sexually exploiting minors to produce child pornography. Judge Nickerson also ordered that upon her release from prison, Honea will be required to register as a sex offender in the place where she resides, where she is an employee, and where she is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

"Nothing that we say can really convey the horror of this case," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "Among the many shocking cases involving child pornography, the ones involving defendants who scheme with other people to abuse young children and record their crimes are the most horrifying."

According to Honea’s plea agreement, undercover Baltimore County police detectives received videos and images of child pornography from a computer located at the residence Honea shared with her fiancé, Fred Nicklas. A search warrant was executed at their home on July 30, 2009 and over 600 images of child pornography involving prepubescent children and sadomasochistic conduct were seized.

A joint investigation by Baltimore County Police and the FBI revealed that between at least February 15 and July 30, 2009, Honea and Nicklas obtained videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, and sexually abused children in order to make their own videos. Honea and Nicklas visually recorded minor females changing clothes in their residence in order to produce child pornography, and arranged to have minor females spend the evening so that Nicklas could sexually abuse the children to produce child pornography.

Nicklas and Honea traveled to other states to obtain minors in order to sexually abuse them and produce child pornography. They kept the images depicting the sexual abuse at their residence. Nicklas also sent a letter to Honea explaining how he wanted to have daughters with her so that he could sexually molest the children. He also described in detail the sexually explicit activities that he would engage in with the children, starting when they were a year old.

Some of child pornography seized from their home included at least six videos created by Honea and Nicklas depicting him sexually abusing a baby girl and a minor female, and recording three minor females as they changed clothes.

Judge Nickerson sentenced John Fred Nicklas IV, age 36, of Middle River, Maryland, on March 22, 2011, to 60 years in prison followed by supervised release for life for two counts of sexually exploiting minors to produce child pornography.

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 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 Details about Maryland’s program are available at

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department; and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their investigative work and assistance in the prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.

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