Macon Educator Sentenced To 90 Months In Prison For Possessing Hundreds Of Child Pornography Images
MACON – A Macon resident was sentenced to 90 months in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of Possession of Child Pornography, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. The Honorable Marc Treadwell handed down the sentence to Robert Anthony Smith, 44, in Macon federal court Wednesday morning. Mr. Smith will be required to make restitution payments to the victims identified in the images he possessed and register as a sex offender.
According to the plea agreement, the Atlanta office of Homeland Security Investigations was notified by the New Zealand Digital Child Exploitation Team in August 2017 about individuals using an online forum called “Chatstep” to post images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children. The investigation led to the execution of a federal search warrant at Mr. Smith’s home, where six computers, an iPad, iPhone, and two external hard drives were seized on December 1, 2017. Forensic examiners found that three of the devices contained 454 image files and 19 video files of minors being sexually exploited. Some images involved children under the age of twelve, including infants and toddlers being sexually abused. At the time, Mr. Smith was a special education teacher at Central High School in Macon.
“Here we have a teacher, charged with protecting young people, viewing hundreds of scenes of children being sexually exploited in the most heinous ways imaginable. The sexual exploitation of children is a crime that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “I want to acknowledge the excellent investigative work of Homeland Security in rooting out Mr. Smith’s criminal activities.”
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and 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.