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Press Release

Former Soldier Pleads Guilty In Child Sexual Exploitation Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia
Soldier secreted 13-year-old runaway he met online onto Ft. Benning for six days before rescue

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A former U.S. Army Specialist has pleaded guilty in a child exploitation case, after sneaking a Florida teen on base and taking more than 100 photos and films of her in the nude, said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

Samuel Ray Robinson, 23, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, October 27, to one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity before U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land. Robinson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison and up to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a maximum term of supervised release of life. Defendant will also be required to register as a sex offender. There is no parole in the federal system. His sentencing hearing is set for December 17, 2020.

 According to the stipulation of fact entered in court, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Fort Benning CID Office was contacted on June 14, by the Walton County, Florida Sheriff's Office (WCSO) regarding a 13 year old female runaway (Victim 1), who left her Santa Rosa Beach, Florida residence on or about May 27. On June 2, Victim 1 contacted her mother via cellphone and provided her with a “pin” of her location at a Columbus motel. Local Columbus authorities were dispatched to the hotel, and Victim 1 was transported back to Florida.

A forensic examination of the phone revealed Victim 1’s phone “pinged” on Fort Benning between May 27 and June 2, and she had been communicating with Robinson. During an interview with agents, Robinson admitted he met Victim 1 online and picked her up at a gas station in Destin, Florida. Robinson also admitted he knew the victim was a minor when he picked her up, thinking her to be 15 years old. Robinson snuck Victim 1 onto Fort Benning, where she stayed for six nights, engaging in sexual intercourse. Victim 1 was also filmed and photographed in the nude by Robinson more than 100 times.

“Robinson targeted a vulnerable minor online, took her hours away from home, and kept her hidden, abusing her repeatedly. He will pay a steep penalty for his egregious crime—federal prison without parole,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “I want to thank Fort Benning CID, the Columbus authorities and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for investigating this case and bringing the victim safely home.”

“Robinson’s behavior is not tolerated in the U.S. Army and hopefully this will be of some solace to his victim and prevent him from targeting other such vulnerable people,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Micah Rush. “I want to thank all of the investigative and legal efforts made by the Special Agents of the Fort Benning CID Office, our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s office.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Fort Benning CID Office (CID) and Walton County, Florida Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) with assistance from the Columbus Police Department (CPD). Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanelle Booker is prosecuting the case for the Government. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

Updated October 28, 2020

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