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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 17, 2017

Man Sentenced To Twenty Years In Federal Prison For Production Of Child Pornography

Defendant enticed 17 minors to send him pornographic images of themselves through social media

                                                                      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact ELIZABETH MORSE

www.justice.gov/usao/md                                                     at (410) 209-4855

 

 

Baltimore, Maryland – On November 15, 2017, United States District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Russell Todd O’Bannon, age 52, of Dundalk, Maryland, to 20 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release for production of child pornography. Judge Bennett ordered that, upon his release from prison, O’Bannon must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

 

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Police Chief Wade Goolsby of the Waxahachie Police Department in Waxahachie, Texas.

 

According to his plea agreement, between November 2013 and January 2016, O’Bannon communicated with numerous male and female minors through the internet in which he persuaded, induced, and enticed the victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct, to produce images of this conduct, and to send the images to him.  As a result, the minor victims sent O’Bannon numerous pornographic images of themselves through the social media platform Facebook. 

 

The 17 minor victims were located in various regions of the United States and in foreign countries.  O’Bannon communicated through the text-messaging feature of Facebook, using alias Facebook profiles that falsely identified him as “Martin Anderson.”  Under this alias, O’Bannon consistently lied about his age to his minor victims and sent the victims photos of nude and shirtless young men and photos of genitals, claiming that these were images of himself.  O’Bannon requested that the minors send him images of their genitalia and of them engaging in masturbation, and the victims complied with these requests.  O’Bannon also stated intentions of visiting the minors to have sex, and graphically described the sex acts he intended to perform with them.  He regularly told female victims that he wanted to have unprotected sex to impregnate them.  Several of the minor victims were in foster care or in group homes.  Two of the minors told O’Bannon that they had been victims of previous rapes.  O’Bannon responded by requesting details about the rapes and continued to ask for pornographic images of 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.        

 

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the FBI and the Waxahachie Police Department for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Maddox who prosecuted the case.

 

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Updated November 17, 2017