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Press Release

Illinois Man Sentenced To Five Years In Federal Prison For Viewing Child Sex Abuse Images While Traveling On A Commercial Airplane

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Donald Max Ingram (70, Illinois) to five years in federal prison for possessing and viewing images of children being sexually abused as he traveled onboard a commercial flight to Florida. The court also ordered Ingram to forfeit the electronic devices used in the commission of the offense, serve a lifetime term of supervised release, and register as a sex offender. As part of his sentence, the court also ordered Ingram to pay $3,000 in restitution to the victims of the offense.

Ingram had pleaded guilty on May 18, 2021.

According to court documents, on September 14, 2020, Ingram was on board a domestic flight to Florida when another passenger observed Ingram viewing child sex abuse material on his cellphone. The passenger alerted law enforcement when the plane landed at St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport. Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the airport detained Ingram and requested assistance from the FBI. During an interview, Ingram admitted that he had used his cellphone to access and view child sex abuse images and consented to a search of his phone. A subsequent forensic analysis of Ingram’s cellphone revealed that he possessed 59 images depicting children being sexually abused. Some of the images depicted children younger than 12 years old. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.

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

Updated November 1, 2021

Project Safe Childhood