Repeat Sex Offender Sentenced to over 15 Years for Distribution of Child Pornography
Also Sentenced on Charges from Alabama of Attempting to Engage a Minor in Sexual Activity
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Kent Eugene Turnbaugh, age 55, of Baltimore, a registered sex offender, to 188 months in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for distributing child pornography and attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement, beginning in April, 2006, Turnbaugh initiated and maintained contact with a 13 year old girl residing in Alabama through instant messages, text messages and phone calls. The contact evolved into sexually explicit conversations. Turnbaugh requested that the minor send topless photos of herself and participate in phone sex. Turnbaugh sent the victim a picture he claimed to be of himself, which depicted an adult male naked from the waist down. Ultimately, the girl reported the activity and an FBI undercover officer assumed the girl’s on-line identity in order to investigate the conduct.
From June 22 to 29, 2006, a member of the Birmingham, Alabama FBI Innocent Images Unit corresponded with Turnbaugh, using the victim’s on-line identity. Turnbaugh proposed traveling to Alabama so that he could have sex with the girl at his hotel. He had increasingly explicit discussions about sex with the undercover officer, whom he believed to be the 13 year old girl. During a chat on June 22, 2006, Turnbaugh sent the undercover officer 36 images, at least 20 of which were of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
A computer and numerous compact discs were seized from Turnbaugh’s bedroom on July 17, 2006 which revealed over 600 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including the images Turnbaugh sent to the undercover officer.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who prosecuted the case in Maryland and Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Hodge who handled the charges in the Northern District of Alabama.