Citrus County Woman Arrested For Using A Minor To Produce Child Sex Abuse Images And Distributing Them Over The Internet
Ocala, Florida – Acting United States Attorney Karin Hoppmann announces the arrest of Ashley Renea Hilligoss (37, Citrus Springs) on a criminal complaint charging her with the production and distribution of images depicting the sexual abuse of a child. If convicted on both counts, Hilligoss faces a maximum penalty of 50 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release.
According to the complaint, Hilligoss took sexually explicit photographs of a child to whom she had access and sent these photos to another individual over the internet. Federal agents later searched an encrypted online file storage account belonging to that individual, which account contained copies of the photographs.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ocala Resident Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William S. Hamilton.
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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.