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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 14, 2022

Iowa Man Sentenced for Production of Child Pornography and South Dakota Woman Sentenced for Sex Trafficking of a Child

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Spencer, Iowa, man convicted of Production of Child Pornography was sentenced on March 11, 2022, and a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, woman convicted of Sex Trafficking of a Child was sentenced on January 31, 2022.  Both were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Ronald Dean Johnson, age 39, was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Melanie Joyce Hollingsworth, age 36, was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Johnson and Hollingsworth were indicted by a federal grand jury on February 2, 2021.  Johnson pled guilty on December 9, 2021, and Hollingsworth pled guilty on October 15, 2021.

The convictions stemmed from multiple incidents between on or about January 11, 2020, and October 10, 2020, when Johnson and Hollingsworth knowingly and intentionally recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and maintained by any means a juvenile female who had not attained the age of 18, to knowingly engage in commercial sexual acts.

Hollingsworth used texts, telephone calls, and apps on her phone to communicate with Johnson to set up commercial sexual acts.  The commercial sexual acts were followed by wire transmission of funds via Western Union.  Hollingsworth benefited financially from the commercial sexual acts by receiving funds, some of which were sent via Western Union.

Johnson videorecorded some of the sexual encounters with the minor female.

This case was investigated by the Sioux Falls Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper prosecuted the case.

Both Johnson and Hollingsworth were immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated March 14, 2022