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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Huntsville Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Possession of Child Pornography

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –A federal judge today sentenced a Huntsville man to 25 years in prison for sexually exploiting a 10-year-old child, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge James G. Hernandez­.

United States District Court Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced Darnell Lawson to 25 years in prison for producing child pornography and enticing a young girl to engage in sexual activity for the purpose of creating obscene images.  Lawson pled guilty to these charges in August 2019 and is required to register as a sex offender.   

“A long prison sentence is well-deserved for this defendant,” Town said.  “Lawson stole the innocence of a young girl and gave her no sanctuary of a childhood.  He will now spend the next 25 years in federal prison where there is no sanctuary of parole.”

“This case demonstrates how HSI seeks to partner with all the relevant stakeholders to protect those among us that are the most vulnerable,” Hernandez said.  "HSI partnered with Huntsville PD, and the NCAC multidisciplinary team to get this predator off our streets.” 

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines 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/pcs.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) also encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423.  Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls.  Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online by visiting their website at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone application www.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app.  Tips may be submitted anonymously.

U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations along with the Huntsville Police Department investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Becher, Sr. prosecuted.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 16, 2020