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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 18, 2021

Citrus County Woman Pleads Guilty To Producing Sexually Explicit Photos Of A Child And Distributing Them Over The Internet

Ocala, Florida – Ashley Renea Hilligoss (37, Citrus Springs) has pleaded guilty to producing photos depicting a minor child being sexually abused. She faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Hilligoss had been indicted on June 22, 2021.

According to court documents, Hilligoss took sexually explicit photographs of a minor female and sent them to another individual using the internet. FBI agents later searched an encrypted online file storage account belonging to the receiving individual and recovered copies of these photos. When interviewed by law enforcement, Hilligoss admitted to taking and sending the photographs of the child.

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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated November 18, 2021