Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Enticement of a Minor and Possession of Prepubescent Child Pornography
Shawn Lyberger, 35, of Kell, Illinois, was sentenced today in federal court to 25 years in prison for inducing a 10-year-old boy to engage in sex acts over webcam and possession of child pornography depicting prepubescent minors. Lyberger previously pled guilty to a three-count superseding indictment charging the same conduct, which included a charge for committing the offenses while being a registered sex offender. Lyberger has a prior federal conviction for possession of child pornography in the Eastern District of Missouri dating back to 2003.
During the proceedings, Lyberger admitted that in December 2015, while he was a registered sex offender, he went on the website Omegle and began chatting with the victim – identified in court documents only as T.W., a resident of England. During their initial chat, the defendant engaged in a sex act on webcam. At Lyberger’s suggestion, they later switched over to Skype, whereupon the defendant induced T.W. to perform sex acts on webcam as well. Lyberger admitted knowing at the time that the boy was only 10 years of age.
At some point, T.W. tried to end the sexual aspect of their chats and, specifically, to no longer transmit sexually explicit pictures to Lyberger. However, Lyberger told T.W. that this was not acceptable, and that T.W. had to continue sending him images of his genitals or Lyberger would make him a "cyber boy" – a threat to post T.W.’s explicit videos online for others to see. T.W. became afraid and told his mother, who notified the police.
On July 6, 2016, a federal search warrant was executed at the residence the defendant shared with his mother. A laptop computer and a USB storage device belonging to Lyberger were seized and found to contain approximately 77 child pornography images and 200 child pornography videos respectively. All of the contraband files were found in unallocated space, signifying that they had been deleted. At that time, the defendant provided a voluntary audiotaped statement in which he admitted to chatting online about child pornography and to chatting with minors over Skype and Omegle. He also admitted that he had solicited underage males to perform sex acts online, but confessed only to viewing the webcam transmissions, not recording them. None of the images or videos recovered during the search depicted T.W.
Because he was a registered sex offender at the time of the offenses, federal law mandated a 10-year term of imprisonment to run consecutive to any sentence Lyberger received for his enticement conviction. His prior conviction from 2003 also meant that Lyberger faced a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for possessing child pornography. In addition to his 300- month prison term, Lyberger was also sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release.
Today’s sentencing hearing was the culmination of an investigation conducted by Interpol, officials from the United Kingdom, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, the Woodland, California, Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.
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."