Jacksonville Man Sentenced To Fifteen Years In Federal Prison For Attempted Production Of Child Sex Abuse Material
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that George Thomas Griffiths, Jr. (42, Ponte Vedra Beach) has pleaded guilty to distributing videos depicting young children being sexually abused. He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years, and up to, 20 years in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, an FBI task force officer began an undercover online investigation using a particular social media application (app) to identify individuals attempting to sexually exploit children using the internet. From February 3, 2020, through February 20, 2020, an individual user named “ban_me_again,” who was subsequently identified as Griffiths, uploaded to a chat room on the app several videos that featured children, including an infant child, being sexually abused. Meanwhile, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that the same app had reported that this same user had uploaded videos depicting child sexual abuse materials during this same time period. Further investigation revealed that Griffiths had distributed these contraband videos over the internet from his residence in Ponte Vedra Beach and from his place of employment. At that time, Griffiths worked at a health care facility in Jacksonville as an x-ray technologist.
On November 19, 2020, SJSO detectives and agents from Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at Griffiths’ residence and seized an Apple iPhone used by Griffiths. During an interview with law enforcement, Griffiths stated that he used the particular app to talk to people over the internet. He also stated that it was “possible” that he exchanged pictures and videos on the app, and that these materials “possibly” included “bestiality” involving both adults and children. When asked how many times he had distributed child sexual abuse materials, Griffiths first responded, “I don’t know” and then clarified, “more than one or two.”
Subsequent examination of Griffiths’ iPhone revealed that it contained at least 2,000 images and at least 10 videos depicting children being sexually abused, including infants and toddler-aged children.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 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 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.