California Man Pleads Guilty To Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Materials Over The Internet
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced that Jason Charles Nicholas (54, Ramona, CA) has pleaded guilty to distributing child sexual abuse materials over the internet. At sentencing, Nicholas faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years, and up to, 20 years in federal prison and a potential lifetime term of supervised release. Nicholas was arrested on September 21, 2023 in San Diego County, California, and was ordered detained pending the resolution of this case.
According to court documents, on August 3, 2023, an undercover FBI agent (UC) in the Jacksonville area, posing as the parent of an 11-year-old “child,” was investigating individuals on a particular social media application (app) who were attempting to sexually exploit children. The UC began a private conversation on the app with user “cldad,” who was subsequently identified as Nicholas. Nicholas indicated his desire to meet the UC at a residence in northeast Florida to have sex with the 11-year-old “child.” However, Nicholas abruptly abandoned this plan and began threatening to expose the UC’s purported criminal sexual conduct unless the UC streamed live video of the “child” to Nicholas. The UC refused. Nicholas later apologized for threatening the UC, and the two continued online conversations for several weeks. Nicholas told the UC about his longtime practice of brushing up against and taking surreptitious photos (“creep shots”) of young girls in public places, and also that he had purportedly abused a young child after overdosing the child with medication.
During an online conversation on August 17, 2023, Nicholas sent the UC six videos and two photos that depicted young children being sexually abused. Further investigation by the FBI led to the positive identification of Nicholas as a resident of Ramona, California, and revealed that he had been using the online identity of an actual person who lived in Florida. On September 21, 2023, FBI agents, with assistance from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, arrested Nicholas as he was driving to his workplace. A search of Nicholas’ cellphone revealed that it contained at least 2,532 videos depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, many of which depicted the sexual abuse of prepubescent children, infants, and toddlers.
This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the San Diego County (California) Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville and San Diego. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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 child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."