LITTLE ROCK—A Jacksonville man was sentenced today on one count of production of child pornography. United States District Court Judge James M. Moody sentenced Robert Franke III, 41, to 30 years in federal prison. Cody Hiland, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, announced today’s sentencing.
In August of 2017, the Jacksonville Police Department received information that Franke was sexually assaulting a 15-year-old female. The minor disclosed to the police that Franke had been touching her inappropriately and asking her to send him nude photographs of herself for approximately four years. Franke also sent pictures of his genitals to the minor and encouraged the minor to send sexually explicit photographs of her friends.
In an interview, Franke admitted to asking the minor female to send him nude photographs in exchange for different privileges. He also admitted to inappropriately touching the minor on several occasions. A forensic review of the minor female’s telephone revealed numerous sexually explicit conversations and nude images of the minor. The defendant also encouraged the minor to drink alcohol in an effort to “relax her.”
On October 3, 2017, Franke was charged in a five-count indictment with two counts of production of child pornography, one count of attempted production of child pornography, one count of enticement of a minor, and one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography on May 8, 2019.
At the sentencing hearing, Moody sentenced the defendant to the statutory maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment, noting that the defendant’s behavior was outside the bounds of a typical child pornography case.
“This defendant took advantage of a young child for years, manipulating her into sending sexually explicit photos of herself,” said U.S. Attorney Hiland. “He received the longest sentence allowed by law, 30 years in prison, because of his abhorrent abuse of this child. This case demonstrates our office’s dedication to investigating and prosecuting those who prey on our children.”
In addition to the prison term, Franke was sentenced to ten years of supervised release following his imprisonment. The investigation was conducted by the Arkansas State Police, the Jacksonville Police Department, and the FBI, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin Bryant and Allison W. Bragg.
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