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Press Release

Howard Man Sentenced for Production of Child Pornography

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

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier has sentenced a Howard, South Dakota, man convicted of Production of Child Pornography. The sentencing took place on December 27, 2022.

Lee James Thames, age 26, was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Thames was indicted by a federal grand jury in January of 2022. He pleaded guilty on September 30, 2022.

The conviction stemmed from incidents between March 16, 2021, and April 29, 2021, when Thames intentionally used his cellular phone to take sexually explicit photographs and videos of a minor female, who had not attained the age of 12 years, and saved them to his Snapchat Memories account.

This case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Thames was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.



Updated January 13, 2023

Project Safe Childhood