Columbia County man sentenced to federal prison for possession of child sexual exploitation material
BRUNSWICK, GA: A Camden County man and woman face substantial prison terms after pleading guilty to multiple charges that concern the sexual exploitation of children.
Michael Williams Kersey, 45, of St. Mary’s, Ga., and Lesley M. Henry, 47, of Kingsland, Ga., each await sentencing after pleading guilty to multiple charges before U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Kersey faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to 140 years, after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Sexual Exploitation of Children; two counts of Sexual Exploitation of Children; and Possession of Child Pornography. Henry faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to 60 years, after pleading guilty to two counts of Production of Child Pornography. Each defendant also is subject to pay a special assessment of $5,000 and substantial financial penalties and restitution, serve a period of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms, and to register as sex offenders.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“It is exceptionally difficult to fathom the level of victimization of vulnerable children through the despicable acts of these defendants,” said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. “Our law enforcement partners did exceptional work in identifying these defendants and protecting innocent children from further harm.”
FBI agents in 2020 began working to find the origin of child sexual abuse images shared through an internet messaging application, and identified Kersey as the registered user of the account. Agents searched Kersey’s home and found multiple electronic devices with hundreds of images and videos of child sexual abuse, and subsequently identified Henry as a codefendant. Agents determined she had produced multiple images and videos of child sexual abuse and shared them with Kersey.
Both defendants are in federal custody. Sentencing will be scheduled before Judge Wood upon completion of a pre-sentence investigation by U.S. Probation Services.
“The victimization of a child is particularly heinous when the sexual predators are creating the content to share with other predators. Our office remains relentless in the pursuit to ensure the safety of our children and the punishment of their abusers,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Anyone who suspects a child is being victimized is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or child protective services.”
The case is being investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service/Kings Bay, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Camden County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Marys Police Department, and the Kingsland Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer S. Kirkland and Criminal Division Deputy Chief Tania D. Groover.
Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer_ 912-652-4422