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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 16, 2018

Panama City Man Sentenced to 84 Months in Prison for Federal Child Pornography Offenses

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Russell Scott Hardman, 57, of Panama City, was sentenced yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Panama City to 84 months in prison for distribution, receipt, and production of child pornography after pleading guilty on November 30, 2017.  The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

In May 2017, Homeland Security Investigations received a tip from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in which a user of the social media platform Kik was uploading child pornography.  Agents were able to determine that Hardman was using his cellular telephone to access Kik, as well as using his e-mail to upload images of child pornography while at work and at home.  A forensic review of Hardman’s cellular telephone revealed 561 images and 135 videos of child pornography.  Investigation disclosed that Hardman distributed at least 20 of those videos in a group chat.  At least 20 videos of child pornography depicted infants, toddlers, and prepubescent children engaged in sex acts.

United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova stated, “We will continue to utilize the resources of our office to aggressively prosecute anyone who attempts to steal the innocence of a child while hiding in the shadows of the Internet.”

“This child predator thought he could hide in anonymity behind the Internet,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.  “Thanks to the investigative skills of our HSI special agents, and partners at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, his crimes were exposed, and he will now be held accountable.”

“The Bay County Sheriff's Office is committed to maintaining strong working partnerships with fellow law enforcement agencies,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.  “These partnerships serve to increase our success in finding and bringing criminals like Hardman to justice.”

The case was investigated by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Thielemann.

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 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 http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
For more information, contact: Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer amy.alexander@usdoj.gov
Updated February 21, 2018