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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 18, 2022

Wauchula Man Arrested For Producing, Distributing, And Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest of Christopher Froehlich (40, Wauchula) on a criminal complaint charging him with production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. If convicted, Froehlich faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to 30 years, in federal prison for production of child pornography, a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison for distribution of child pornography, and a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, and a potential life term of supervised release on all counts. Froehlich made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda A. Sansone on Friday and was ordered detained pending trial. 

According to the complaint, in December 2017, Froehlich posed as a 15-year-old boy and connected with the 15-year-old victim via Live.Me, a live-streaming video service. Froehlich convinced the child victim that they were in a relationship and coerced the child to produce sexually explicit videos and photos for Froehlich. When the child tried to stop producing sexually explicit videos and photos for Froehlich, Froehlich threatened to post the videos and photos to social media for the child’s family and friends to see.

In June 2020, the child attempted to stop communication with Froehlich, at which point Froehlich posted the child’s nude photos to social media. Froehlich continued to contact the child until June 2022 by using various phone numbers and different usernames on social media platforms.

A complaint 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 case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, with substantial assistance from the Wauchula Police Department, the Sarasota Police Department, and the Bradenton Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Abigail K. King.

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’ Office 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated July 18, 2022