St. Augustine Registered Sex Offender Indicted For Attempting To Entice A 10-Year-Old Child To Engage In Sex And Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Video Over The Internet
Jacksonville, Florida – Acting United States Attorney Karin Hoppmann announces that a grand jury has returned an indictment charging Christopher Lee Smith (39, St. Augustine) with attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sex and online distribution of a video depicting the sexual abuse of a child. Smith faces a minimum mandatory penalty 15 years, and up to life, in federal prison, a $500,000 fine, and a potential life term of supervised release. Smith is a registered sex offender, having been convicted of a prior child sex offense in January 2012. Smith was arrested by FBI agents on September 2, 2021, and is in federal custody awaiting his arraignment on September 23, 2021.
According to court documents, on June 28 and August 30, 2021, Smith utilized a particular social media application (app) to engage in online conversations with an undercover federal agent who was posing as the parent of a 10-year-old child. On June 28, 2021, Smith advised the undercover agent that he (Smith) wanted to have sex with the “child” and discussed in detail the sexual acts that he wished to perform on the “child.” On August 30, 2021, Smith and the undercover agent engaged in another online conversation. Smith advised, among other things, that he had engaged in sexual activity with another minor child; Smith also used the internet to send a video to the undercover agent depicting an adult male sexually abusing the minor. FBI agents were subsequently able to identify the child.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville and Tampa. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
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.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact the FBI Jacksonville office at 904-248-7000.