Stephen A. Turner, 36, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois to 27 years in federal prison for production of child pornography, announced Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Turner will also be subject to 15 years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment and will be required to register as a sex offender. The Court also ordered Turner to pay a $100 special assessment.
Turner had utilized the chat function within the Marvel "Contest of Champions" game application to befriend an 11-year-old minor. He continued to cultivate a relationship by texting her and ultimately induced her to photograph her genitals and send him the photographs. The minor’s mother discovered the text messages and illicit photographs and immediately reported the crime to police.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
The investigation was conducted by the Collier County, Florida Sheriff’s Office, the Wood River Police Department, and the United States Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura V. Reppert.