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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Cartersville man pleads guilty to producing child pornography

ROME, Ga. - Shawn Ryan Budovic pleaded guilty in federal court to the production of child pornography after he lured and manipulated a minor into exchanging sexually explicit images online.

“Budovic operated as an online predator who targeted very young children for sexual exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “His conduct is especially egregious because he preyed upon a group of siblings, potentially causing irreparable harm to the victims individually and to the family collectively.”

“Individuals responsible for producing child pornography steal the innocence of children and further their re-victimization each time the evidence of that exploitation is shared online,” said Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan. “This case shows HSI investigators are actively working to identity and disrupt the trade of these illegal images, and also to identify and seek prosecution of the criminals who produce and possess them.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Budovic used the messenger application Kik to meet his former girlfriend when she was a minor. Budovic began an online relationship with the minor, and over time Budovic groomed her to believe that his sexual interest in children was normal.  He discussed his sexual interest in young children with his girlfriend and sent her images of child pornography.  Eventually, Budovic asked his minor girlfriend for sexually explicit photographs of her younger siblings, who were as young as three, five, and nine years old at the time.  At Budovic’s urging, the minor girlfriend ultimately sent him multiple sexually explicit photos of her three-year-old and nine-year-old sisters.  Homeland Security Investigations agents found pornographic photos of the children on Budovic’s phone when they executed a search warrant at his home.

Shawn Ryan Budovic, 28, of Cartersville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to the offense of production of child pornography on May 1, 2018.  He is facing a sentence of 25 years in prison, which is a binding sentencing recommendation pending approval by the Court.  Budovic’s sentencing is scheduled for July 13, 2018.

This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jolee Porter is prosecuting the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 1, 2018