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Press Release

Merrillville Man Sentenced to 390 Months in Prison

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

HAMMOND – Tyrone Johnson, 36 years old, of Merrillville, Indiana, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Philip P. Simon after a jury found him guilty of crimes against children offenses, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

Johnson was sentenced to 390 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release.

According to documents in the case, following a two-day trial in August 2023, a jury found Johnson guilty of two counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment. Specifically, Johnson was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor for the purpose of producing a visual depiction. He was also convicted of committing a felony offense involving a minor while being required by law to register as a sex offender.

United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson said, “Outcomes such as today’s sentencing are only possible when we have an alert and engaged public that willingly joins with law enforcement to prosecute those who would harm the most vulnerable members of our community.  I want to thank our partners both within law enforcement and in the general public who helped bring this Defendant to justice and I encourage and implore anyone who suspects a child is being harmed to take action and report it to law enforcement.”

“Today, justice was served as the court handed down a fittingly significant sentence to Johnson for his involvement in the egregious crime of producing child pornography,” said HSI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Sean Fitzgerald. “This decision underscores the profound gravity of such abhorrent acts and reaffirms HSI’s unwavering commitment to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.”

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the Indiana State Police (ICAC and Digital Forensics Lab), the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Unit (Indiana), the Peru Police Department (Illinois), the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office (Illinois), the City of LaSalle (Illinois) Police Department and the Illinois State Police Offender Registration Unit. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Morgan and Philip Benson, as well as former Assistant United States Attorneys Abizer Zanzi, Molly Kelley and Jill Koster.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated July 9, 2024

Project Safe Childhood