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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Johnny Ray Sammons Sentenced To 393 Months In Prison For Producing And Distributing Child Pornography

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- On Sept. 21, 2015, Johnny Ray Sammons, 33, of Gatlinburg, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge, to serve 393 months in prison for producing child pornography and distribution of child pornography.  Following his release from prison, Sammons will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for a term of 25 years and will be required to register with the sex offender registry in any state in which he resides, works, or attends school.

Sammons pleaded guilty in March 2015 to federal charges stemming from his use of two minor females to make pornographic videos and pictures and his distribution of those depictions to others via the Internet.  Undercover investigators with the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (KPD-ICAC) and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) learned that someone in the Gatlinburg area was circulating child pornography from a publicly open wireless router to undercover investigators in Queensland, Australia. KPD-ICAC investigators utilized an undercover persona to contact the suspect and glean more information about the source of the child pornography.  During an undercover surveillance in the area of the public wireless router, investigators spotted the victims at a local fast food restaurant.  Sammons was identified as the person who was making and distributing the child pornography and arrested.

This investigation was conducted by KPD-ICAC, HSI, and the Gatlinburg Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris represented the United States.

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 the Criminal Division's 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


Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 22, 2015