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Press Release

Pender County Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Producing Child Sexual Abuse Material

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Rocky Point, N.C. man was sentenced today to the statutory maximum 360 months in prison, and 10 years of supervised release, for the production of child pornography between April and October of 2020. On April 25, 2023, Thomas Frank Andrews, Jr., 39, pled guilty to the charges. Andrews was also ordered to pay a total of $36,000 in restitution to multiple victims and will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, in February 2020, Andrews traveled to Vance County to have sex with a minor female he had met and groomed through social media. The minor victim reported asking Andrews to stop but he did not, and a family member caught Andrews in bed with the minor. The Vance County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) investigated, and Andrews was charged with Second Degree Forcible Rape.

During the investigation, the VCSO received reports that Andrews, a Pender County resident, was also sexually assaulting another minor female victim who was only 13 years-old at the time. On October 22, 2020, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) arrested Andrews on the outstanding Vance County warrant and seized his phone. A search warrant found child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the phone. The PCSO then obtained and executed search warrants for Andrews’ home, vehicle, other electronic devices, and social media accounts. The subsequent investigation, conducted by the PCSO and the United States Secret Service (USSS), confirmed that Andrews had groomed the 13-year-old victim, engaged in a sexual relationship with her, and also had her create sexually explicit images and videos of herself at his direction.

The investigation also found that Andrews sexually assaulted yet another minor female victim, who was just 11 years-old at the time of his arrest. Later, investigators were able to confirm that one of the CSAM videos found on Andrews’ devices depicted the same minor victim, but was recorded over a year ago, when she was only 10 years-old.

A review of the electronic evidence revealed that Andrews had engaged in overtly sexual online communications with numerous other young females, including minors. Several explicitly disclosed their age / minor status, while Andrews often lied about his own age, claiming he was 18. Andrews regularly attempted to convince the young females to meet him for sex or send him sexually explicit images or videos, and some did. Additionally, the forensic review of Andrews’ electronic devices found a voluminous collection of thousands of CSAM images and videos, as well as search history which confirmed that Andrews actively sought out CSAM.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II. The Pender County Sheriff’s Office, the Vance County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Secret Service investigated the case; the North Carolina 6th and 11th Prosecutorial District Attorney’s Offices prosecuted the state cases; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan M. Stephany prosecuted the federal case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:22-cr-00112-M.

Updated February 15, 2024

Project Safe Childhood