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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 17, 2019

Former UNF Student Pleads Guilty To Distributing Child Sex Abuse Video Over The Internet

Jacksonville, Florida – Anthony Davis Stagnitta (22, St. Petersburg) has pleaded guilty to distributing child sex abuse videos using the internet. Stagnitta faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison, as well as a potential life term of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, in February 2018, agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an investigation into the sexual exploitation of children that was occurring on a popular messaging application. The agents discovered that between November 24 and December 3, 2017, Stagnitta had engaged in online conversations with other users in a public group chat on the app and had discussed trading child pornography. On December 3, 2017, Stagnitta sent a video to the group that depicted the sadistic sexual abuse of an infant.

On April 30, 2018, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Stagnitta’s home in Jacksonville. During an interview, Stagnitta admitted that he had discussed child pornography using this app, had sent videos of child pornography to other users via private messaging, and had posted videos in the group chats. Forensic analysis of Stagnitta’s cellphone revealed that it contained 2,904 images depicting young children being sexually abused.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

It is another case 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
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Updated May 17, 2019