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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Williston Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Federal Prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Production of Child Pornography

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA —Justin Allen Chavis, 27, of Williston, was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and the production of child pornography, to be followed by 20 years of supervision and registration as a sex offender.

Evidence presented in court showed that Chavis engaged in sexual acts with two minor children, and that he produced photographs and videos of the abuse, which Chavis then distributed through the internet.

Evidence further indicated that on April 2, 2020, Chavis communicated over the internet with a person he was told was another adult interested in abusing children, but in fact he was communicating with an undercover FBI agent.  The pair discussed past and future abuse of multiple children, and Chavis described himself as “active” with numerous children under the age of seven, describing specific sex acts he had coerced his victims to engage in.  Chavis then began sharing photographs and videos of what appeared to be Chavis sexually abusing children he had access to.

Within one day, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined Chavis’s identity and obtained an arrest warrant and a federal search warrant for his residence.  FBI executed the arrest and search with assistance from the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS).  Chavis has remained in custody since that day.  FBI recovered photographs and videos of the abuse from Chavis’s phone, and Chavis made admissions regarding his conduct. Chavis ultimately pled guilty to the sexual exploitation of a minor and the production of child pornography.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis sentenced Chavis to 324 months in federal prison, to be followed by 20 years of court-ordered supervision, restitution to be paid to two victims, and Chavis will have to register as a sex offender after release. There is no parole in the federal system. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The case was investigated by the FBI with critical assistance from the Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office and DSS. Assistant United States Attorney Elliott B. Daniels prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Derek A. Shoemake (843) 813-0982
Updated August 30, 2022