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Justice News

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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

New Zealand Man Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography

RICHMOND, Va. – A New Zealand man pleaded guilty today to production of child pornography.

According to court documents, between February and March 2018, Troy George Skinner, 28, interacted with a minor child online and used the child to produce numerous videos and image files of child pornography.

“Although no prosecution can undo the irreparable damage the defendant caused, we hope it is some measure of relief to the victim, the victim’s family, and the community that the defendant now faces lengthy and significant consequences for this heinous conduct when he is sentenced by the Court,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We will continue to hold accountable those who exploit and prey on vulnerable members of our community.”

“The FBI will aggressively investigate any matter where persons prey on our children, and work with our partners to hold these predators accountable with the goal of removing them from our community,” said Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Richmond Field Office. “Mr. Skinner's solicitation of this minor victim is unfortunately not uncommon for sexual predators; what is rather unusual is for a predator to travel this extensively to gain access to their victim. Had it not been for the intervention of an adult, this incident could have been much worse. We encourage anyone who may have fallen victim to a similar situation of sharing images or videos, to report it to law enforcement as soon as possible, so we can help end the trauma.”

According to the Statement of Facts filed with the plea agreement, on June 20, 2018, Skinner departed from Auckland, New Zealand, en route to Virginia. On June 22, 2018, Skinner traveled to the victim’s home in Goochland, the location of which he learned in his online conversations with the minor victim. Upon arriving at the victim’s home in Goochland, the defendant approached the house and attempted to speak to family members inside. Skinner threw a paving stone through the glass window of the kitchen door to the house and attempted to enter. After several verbal warnings, the victim’s mother fired a handgun to prevent Skinner from entering the home, striking him once in the neck. Skinner fled from the house but collapsed in a neighbor’s yard, where he was apprehended by members of the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.

According to additional court filings submitted by the government, a search at the scene of Skinner’s belongings revealed duct tape, pepper spray, and a folding pocketknife. Officials also seized two mobile phones from Skinner, which investigators later determined contained images of child pornography depicting the minor victim. U.S. authorities also made a mutual legal assistance request to officials with the government of New Zealand. New Zealand investigators executed a search warrant on the defendant’s apartment in New Zealand and conducted a forensic examination of the defendant’s laptop, and later provided to U.S. investigators a thumb drive containing 120 video and 56 image files depicting the minor victim.

Skinner pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2022. He faces a mandatory minimum term of 15 years and a maximum term of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea.

Significant and valuable assistance was provided by the Government of New Zealand and the Goochland County Sheriff's Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian R. Hood and Katherine Lee Martin 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. 3:19-cr-19.

Updated July 29, 2021