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Press Release

Leon County Man Sentenced To Prison For Attempted Coercion And Enticement Of A Minor And Possessing Of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Florida

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Shawn Lei Burge, 50, of Tallahassee, Florida, was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison after having previously pleaded guilty to one count of coercion and enticement of a minor for sexual activity and possession of child pornography. The sentence was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

“There is no greater charge than the protection of our children,” stated U.S. Attorney Coody. “This sentence is yet another example of the unwavering commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would attempt to harm them. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who engage in such heinous conduct.”

During July 2023, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), serving in an undercover capacity, met the defendant in a social media chat group focused on child pornography. During chats, Burge asked for videos or photographs depicting girls younger than 15 years of age. Over the course of a week, Burge and the undercover FBI agent communicated through private direct messaging about the undercover agent’s fictious girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter. Burge requested photos of the fictious 11-year-old girl and indicated that he wanted to meet in-person so he could engage in sexual activity with the child.

“Child predators use the pseudo-anonymity of the internet to locate those who would help them feed their perversion of molesting children,” said HSI Tallahassee Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Ingegno.  “This more than a decade sentencing is yet another example of the unwavering dedication and commitment of HSI special agents and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, alongside our law enforcement partners with Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office, to bring to justice those who prey upon our children.”

On August 6, 2023, Burge traveled to an agreed upon location for his stated purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the fictious 11-year-old child. Instead, Burge was promptly arrested by law enforcement. A search of Burge’s cell phone revealed a child pornography video shared during previous group chats with undercover agents. Further investigation revealed that Burge had 14 other child pornography photos and videos depicting children—including toddlers—being sexually abused.

Burge’s prison sentence will be followed by twelve years of supervised release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to all sex offender conditions. The Court also ordered forfeiture of Burge’s cell phone which was used in the commission of the offenses.

This conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations as part of a larger undercover operation conducted along with the Tallahassee Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Justin M. Keen prosecuted the case. 

This 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. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit


United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida
(850) 216-3845
X: @NDFLnews

Updated June 27, 2024

Project Safe Childhood