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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 11, 2019

Man Sentenced for Sexually Abusing a Child and Child Pornography

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Williamsburg man was sentenced today to six years in prison for travelling to North Carolina to sexually abuse a child, and receiving child pornography from a child in Nebraska.

According to court documents, Derek Thomas, 26, met Jane Doe #1 online and began a relationship during the summer of 2018 when she was 14 years old. During the summer, both Jane Doe #1 and Thomas sent nude images of themselves to one another over social media platforms. Eventually, Thomas travelled to North Carolina to engage in sexual activities with the child. Also, during the summer of 2018, he met Jane Doe #2 on-line. They sent nude images of themselves to one another. Thomas knew the age of each victim prior to engaging in criminal activity with the children.

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

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa R. McKeel prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:19-cr-12.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated October 11, 2019