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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Syracuse Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Child Pornography

Austin Pratt Admits Sexually Abusing 10-year-old Girl and Distributing Images of the Abuse to Another Person over Instagram

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Austin Pratt, age 24, of Syracuse, pled guilty today in federal court to both counts of an indictment charging him with Sexual Exploitation of a Child and Distribution of Child Pornography, announced Acting United States Attorney Antionette T. Bacon, Thomas F. Relford, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Acting New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen.

In entering his guilty plea, Pratt admitted that he used the Instagram name “redneck_pratt” to message with a person who represented themselves to be a 15-year-old girl, but who law enforcement later confirmed was an adult male from Nevada.  Pratt admitted that the “girl” sent sexually explicit images to him and asked Pratt to produce and send explicit images of himself with young girls.  Pratt admitted that he then sexually abused a 10-year-old child, produced images and a video of that abuse, and sent the images and video to the person he believed to be a 15-year-old girl.  

Pratt will be sentenced by Hon. David N. Hurd in Utica, NY on August 26, 2021.  The terms of Pratt’s plea agreement call for a sentence of at least 20, and up to 30 years imprisonment to be followed by no less than 20 years supervised release.  He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, will be required to pay restitution to his victim, forfeit the phone he used to produce and send the images and video of the abuse, and will have to register as a sex offender. 

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 April 22, 2021