United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces that Sean Michael Howell, age 21, of Mobile, Alabama, entered a guilty plea to two counts of production of child pornography. Howell faces a minimum mandatory sentence of fifteen years in prison, and a maximum of 60 years.
According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Sean Michael Howell was the manager at a roller skating rink in Saraland and met two pre-adolescent boys through his work. The defendant offered the boys free skating if they would stay behind after the rink closed and he would regularly engage in sex acts with them at the rink. He also took the two boys to a motel in Mobile and sodomized the victims there. One of the boys disclosed the abuse to his mother, who reported it to police. The Saraland Police Department took a statement from Howell, and he admitted to engaging in sex acts with the children and to photographing those acts.
The defendant’s cell phone was seized and searched. On the phone were numerous photos of adolescent and pre-adolescent boys, and many of the images were sexually explicit. There were recordings of video chats with as-yet-unidentified pre-pubescent boys in which Howell directed them to perform various sexually explicit actions. His phone also contained videos documenting the abuse of the two boys from the skating rink.
Howell was arrested by Saraland Police Department on December 16, 2018. In a recorded phone call with his father, he said, “I did it all, Dad. They saw the videos.”
Howell will be sentenced by Judge Callie V.S. Grenade on February 10, 2021.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals, federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and for information about internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.
This case was investigated by the Saraland Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office and AUSAs Maria E. Murphy and Kacey Chappelear.