Jacksonville, Florida – Michael Lee Aurandt (50, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing materials depicting the sexual abuse of children over the internet. He faces a minimum mandatory term of 5 years, and up to, 20 years in federal prison on each count and a potential lifetime term of supervised release. Aurandt was arrested on August 27, 2021, and was ordered detained pending trial. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
According to court documents, several different offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating Aurandt for uploading child sexual abuse materials to a chat application over the internet, including his October 2020 posting of videos and images, and his November 2020 uploading of more videos. FBI agents identified Aurandt as the source of these distributions through the internet protocol (IP) addresses from which he uploaded the materials.
On August 27, 2021, FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at Aurandt’s residence and arrested him later that day. During an interview, Aurandt admitted viewing and distributing child sex abuse materials using the chat app accounts previously identified by FBI. He stated he would create new accounts after his existing accounts were shut down for violating the chat app’s terms of service.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.
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.