News and Press Releases


June 29, 2010

HUNTSVILLE– A federal judge today sentenced a 37-year-old Huntsville man to life in prison for child pornography and obscenity offenses, and for repeatedly seeking out young girls for sex between 2002 and 2008, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr. sentenced JOHN LAWSON SIMONS on child exploitation charges brought in two separate indictments in 2008. Simons pleaded guilty to all charges in both indictments in January 2009. In sentencing Simons to life in prison, Judge Smith said “the only sentence that will protect other minor victims and the public at large is the maximum sentence provided by law.”

Simons admitted to multiple incidents of either traveling to other states or transporting girls back to Alabama to sexually abuse them.  His crimes involved girls from Florida, Tennessee, Ohio,  Indiana, Texas and Pennsylvania.  Simons met these girls either on the Internet, or by introducing himself to them in public places, like Wal-Mart.

“This man is a classic sexual predator,” Vance said. “He thought only of himself and never considered how his abuse and manipulation damaged his young and vulnerable victims. He needs to be in prison for the rest of his life so that he never again has the opportunity to harm young girls,” she said.

“The FBI will continue to identify and bring to justice sexual predators who prey upon young people, often leaving the victims emotionally and physically scarred for life,” Maley said. “Our children deserve to be protected.”

Simons admitted to possessing child pornography on his computer and producing videotapes of girls involved in sexually explicit conduct. Some of these tapes were made in other states and brought back to Simons’ home in Alabama, where they were found by law enforcement.  Simons also admitted he sent nude images of himself to a minor via a webcam.

The charges Simons pleaded guilty to include: one count of possessing child pornography, one count of transporting child pornography, two counts of producing child pornography, two counts of transferring obscene matter to a minor, one count of inducing a minor to travel across state lines for sexual purposes, one count of transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes, and 14 counts of traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor.
Special agents of the FBI investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell.


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