Westbrook Man Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Exploitation Offense
Portland, Maine: A Westbrook man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Portland to distributing images of child exploitation, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced.
According to court records, in July 2018, Tyler Garnett, 22, used the social media application Kik Messenger to chat over the internet with another Kik user. During the chat, Garnett sent several images that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Later in 2018, the Westbrook Police Department investigated a CyberTip provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding child pornography that had been uploaded to another social networking service. The IP address used to upload the child pornography was assigned to Garnett’s residence in Westbrook. Detectives interviewed Garnett in December 2018. He admitted uploading the images that were the subject of the CyberTip and using Kik Messenger to find child pornography. He consented to a search of his mobile telephone, which contained numerous images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The phone also contained evidence of Kik chats in which Garnett distributed child pornography images.
Garnett faces a sentence of no less than five years and up to 20 years in prison. He also faces a $250,000 fine and from five years to a lifetime of supervised release. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.
The Westbrook Police Department, the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the FBI investigated this case. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.