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Press Release

Maryville Man Sentenced To 45 Years In Federal Prison For Child Exploitation Crimes

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

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee, sentenced Tywan Montrease Sykes, 46, of Louisville, Tennessee, a previously registered sex offender, to serve 45 years in federal prison on child exploitation charges.  A federal jury convicted Sykes’s in March 2021 of charges of production of child pornography, enticement of a minor for illegal sex, committing those offenses while being required to register as a sex offender, and possession of child pornography. Sykes had been previously convicted of statutory rape in 1998 and aggravated statutory rape in 2012. 

Following his release from prison, the United States Probation Office will supervise the defendant for 30 years and he will be required to register as a sex offender in any state in which he resides, works, or attends school.  

“This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting our children through the prosecution of recidivist child predators to the fullest extent of the law,” said Acting United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton, III. 

“The lengthy sentence in this case shows the significant punishment child predators face for their incomprehensible actions,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Nashville Special Agent in Charge Jerry C. Templet, Jr. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove these offenders from our communities and protect their vulnerable young victims.”

According to the evidence presented at trial, the investigation began after Facebook notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that Sykes was soliciting a 15-year-old girl for sex and child pornography with messages he sent to the girl through Facebook.  NCMEC notified the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit (KPD-ICAC), which immediately contacted the local Department of Children’s Services office to help identify the girl and ensure her safety.  KPD-ICAC arrested the defendant within 48 hours after the minor was interviewed.  Federal search warrants were used to obtain the defendant’s and the victim’s Facebook communications and to search the defendant’s phone, which revealed substantial evidence that was used at trial to convict Sykes. 

The case was investigated by KPD-ICAC in partnership with HSI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew T. Morris and Gretchen Mohr.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit  



Rachelle Barnes
Public Affairs Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated January 7, 2022

Project Safe Childhood