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Press Release

Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Pornography Of A Child In His Custody

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

Jacksonville, Florida – Lonnie Lawrence Mercer, Jr. (40, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Mercer faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, up to a life term of supervised release, and has agreed to pay restitution to the victim of his offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Mercer possessed images of child pornography on his cellphone depicting a 10-year-old child with her shorts and underwear pulled to the side, revealing her genitalia. The child’s mother told law enforcement that she discovered 8-10 explicit photos of her daughter’s genitalia on Mercer’s phone and confronted him, after which a physical altercation ensued.

The 10-year-old child reported that Mercer would always help her stretch and suggested that she occasionally noticed Mercer’s camera phone open while her legs were open and he helped her stretch. The child explained that Mercer would sometimes adjust her underwear to “cover [her] privates” while she was stretching. This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.

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

Updated July 3, 2019

Project Safe Childhood