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Press Release

Howard Man Charged with Production of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Howard, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Production of Child Pornography.

Lee James Thames, age 26, was indicted on January 4, 2022.  He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on January 11, 2022, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 30 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, life of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered.

The Indictment alleges that between on or about March 16, 2021, and April 29, 2021, Thames knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct, knowing that such depictions would be transported in interstate or foreign commerce or mailed, and such visual depictions would be produced using materials that had been mailed, shipped, and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, including by computer.

The charge is merely an accusation and Thames is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Division of Criminal Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper is prosecuting the case.   

Thames was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial which has been set for March 22, 2022.

Updated January 20, 2022

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