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A North Carolina woman was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for production and distribution of child pornography.
Alyson Brooke Saunders, 25, of Greensboro, pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography on Nov. 5, 2020. According to court documents, in or about January and February 2019, while employed at a day care facility in the Middle District of North Carolina, Saunders admitted to using five minor victims in her care to create sexually explicit images and videos, including some in which she also engaged in hands-on sexual abuse of some of the children. The defendant then sent these images and videos to an online co-conspirator, with the knowledge that he intended to post them on the internet.
“The defendant in this case exploited her position as a caregiver to produce sexually explicit images of vulnerable young children with the purpose of providing the images to a co-conspirator,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Thanks to a proactive investigation by our law enforcement partners and the department’s continued commitment to combatting child sexual exploitation, the defendant was apprehended and received a significant penalty for her heinous crimes.”
“When people in positions of trust and responsibility exploit children it not only steals the child’s innocence, it can also teach them not to trust any more, which can cause lifelong trauma,” said Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) North Carolina. “Thanks to the great work done by HSI and its law enforcement partners, this predator will no longer be able to victimize children or spread those disturbing images”
HSI in Winston-Salem investigated the case with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
Trial Attorney Nadia Prinz of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) prosecuted the case.
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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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.justice.gov/psc.