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Press Release

Columbia County man sentenced to federal prison for production of child pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia
Defendant’s wife also serving prison sentence for cruelty to children

AUGUSTA, GA:  A Columbia County man has been sentenced to federal prison for creating and possessing images depicting the sexual exploitation of a child.

Michael Benjamin Buckner, 39, of Grovetown, Ga., was sentenced to 15 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to Attempted Production of Child Pornography, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen also fined Buckner $3,500, ordered him to register as a sex offender and to serve 15 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Investigations and prosecutions of predators continue to be a priority in our efforts to protect the most vulnerable among us,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “We commend our law enforcement partners for their vigilance in following the evidence to hold Michael Buckner accountable.”

As described in court documents and testimony, investigators from the Grovetown Department of Public Safety arrested Buckner and his wife, Amber Buckner, 37, in October 2021 on a state charge of cruelty to children after they were alerted by officers from the Columbia County Board of Education Police. In a subsequent search of the contents of Michael Buckner’s cell phone, investigators and FBI agents discovered photos depicting sexually explicit images of children.

In addition to his federal sentence, Michael Buckner also faces state prosecution for cruelty to children. Amber Buckner is serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in December 2022 to a state charge of cruelty to children.

“Our community and its children are much safer with this lengthy prison sentence handed down to Buckner,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We strive every day to protect our children and will continue to use every law enforcement resource available to identify and prosecute individuals who exploit children in such a manner.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Grovetown Department of Public Safety, and the Columbia County Board of Education Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.

Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or


Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer; 912-652-4422

Updated February 28, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 17-23