News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Owatonna man sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for producing child pornography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 46-year-old Owatonna man was sentenced on one count of production of child pornography for producing videos and images containing a young boy and girl. United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery sentence Michael William Sherman to 300 months in federal prison and a life time of supervised release following incarceration. Because the federal system does not have parole, Sherman will serve virtually his entire prison sentence behind bars.

Following sentencing, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said, “These cases involve our most vulnerable victims, young children. Because of the nature of the crime, they are victimized not only when coerced into performing pornographic acts for the camera, but each time those images are shared with someone else. Harming children in this way is despicable, and this office will continue to prosecute these cases aggressively.”

Sherman was indicted on December 5, 2011, and pleaded guilty on January 27, 2012. In his plea agreement, he admitted that between September and December of 2010, he enticed and coerced a young boy and girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of the activity. The images were found on a computer during the January 14, 2011, execution of a search warrant at his residence. Authorities also discovered pornographic images and videos of the two young victims on Sherman’s cell phone.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, and the Owatonna Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.

Production of child pornography is against the law. In addition to prosecuting these cases, the Justice Department is presently funding a study focused on the correlation between involvement in child pornography and hands-on sexual abuse of children. A 2008 study (The Butner Study) published in the Journal of Family Violence found that up to 80 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography also admitted to hands-on sexual abuse of children, ranging from touching to rape.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html and click on the tab “resources.”

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