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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 2, 2021

Canton Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child, and Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jacob Leonard, age 30, of Canton, New York, pled guilty today to one count of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon; Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett. 

Leonard, who remains detained pending his sentencing scheduled for August 5, 2021, faces at least 15 years and up to 70 years in prison.  Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby will also impose a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.  Leonard would also have to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

As part of his guilty plea, Leonard admitted that while using a social media messaging application on his phone, he sent an image of child pornography – which he created – to another individual over the internet. A subsequent search of Leonard’s phone revealed that he was in possession of 33 images and 18 video files depicting child pornography.  

Leonard’s case was investigated by the FBI Syracuse Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force, comprised of FBI Special Agents and Investigators from the New York State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Computer Crimes Unit (CCU). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey J. L. Brown as a part of Project Safe Childhood.

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is 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 https://www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated April 2, 2021