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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Syracuse Man Arraigned on Child Exploitation Charges

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Austin Pratt, age 23, of Syracuse, was arraigned today on an indictment filed by a federal grand jury charging him with Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Child Pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, 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.

The indictment charges that sometime between February and April 2018, Pratt engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a 10-year-old child for the purpose of producing visual depictions of the conduct, and that he then distributed the child pornography over the Internet.  An earlier criminal complaint filed in the case details some of the images and a video Pratt is accused of producing.  It also details some of the messages Pratt sent at the time he distributed the images and video to an Instagram user who has since been identified by the FBI, including an admission that the child depicted in the images and video is the 10-year-old.

If convicted, Pratt faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, and a maximum sentence of 30 years for sexually exploiting the 10-year-old, and a minimum of 5 and maximum of 20 years for distributing the images he produced.  He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, and will have to register as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Pratt is detained in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Syracuse Resident Agency and the New York State Police as a part of the Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force, in cooperation with the Syracuse Police Department and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Fletcher, Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Northern District of New York. 

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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

 

 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 30, 2020