Plant City Man Sentenced To 20 Years For Distribution, Receipt, And Possession Of Child Sexual Abuse Material
Orlando, Florida – United States District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza has sentenced Michael Belmares (63, St. Cloud) to 25 years in federal prison for production and possession of child sex abuse materials. Belmares was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release and register as a sex offender following his release from prison. Belmares had pleaded guilty on March 15, 2022.
According to evidence presented in open court, Belmares took photos of a six-year-old child that depicted the child naked from the waist down and focused on the child’s genitalia. In addition, a subsequent search revealed that Belmares had other photos that he had taken of various children in shopping center parking lots in Osceola County. These children were fully clothed and could not be identified. Finally, Belmares had a collection of thousands of images depicting children being sexually abused. Among these were binders of photos that Belmares had saved, with date stamps, from as early as 1996, and hundreds of images of child sex abuse saved on various electronic devices. The court also found that Belmares had a 1996 sex offense conviction in North Carolina that enhanced his sentence.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the St. Cloud Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier.
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.