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Press Release

Carmel Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Federal Prison for Sexual Exploitation and Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS- Thomas Cade Martin, 27, of Carmel, Indiana, has been sentenced to 275 months in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material.  He also admitted to sexually exploiting a minor victim in Carmel. Martin was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution and must register as a sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school.

According to court documents, in late 2022, Carmel Police Department officers received a report of sexual exploitation of a male minor victim. The report found that Thomas Martin asked Minor Victim 1, a 15-year-old male, to meet in-person after being introduced through Grindr, an online dating application. Martin continued conversations with MV1 through Instagram and Snapchat, initially lying about his identity and age in order to groom MV1.

Over the course of three weeks, Martin met MV1 in-person on multiple occasions at his Carmel apartment and other public locations to engage in sexual intercourse. Martin also engaged in grooming behaviors, such as purchasing clothes and dinners for MVI, and even buying the child a birthday cake when he turned 16 years old.

A search of Martin’s cellphone recovered multiple sexually explicit “live photos” produced by Martin of the victim, as well as other images taken of the two together at local restaurants and public meeting spots in Carmel.

“Martin sexually abused and exploited a 15-year-old boy, having gained his adoration and trust online. Taking advantage of vulnerable teens for sexual gain is a despicable crime that merits significant prison time,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “The sentence imposed today should serve as a warning to would-be groomers and offenders: if you solicit and exploit minors for sex, you will spend many years in federal prison.”

“This defendant earned his lengthy prison sentence by propagating the online victimization of minors and by seeking out and abusing a victim here in Indiana,” said Special Agent in Charge Herb Stapleton of the Indianapolis Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Thanks to the dedication of our crimes against children investigators, in partnership the Carmel Police Department, this individual will be behind bars for a very long time.”

“The Carmel Police Department has teams dedicated to preventing and solving child exploitation. We are proud to work closely with our federal and local partners in bringing justice to those who are victims of these cases. The work done by all involved in Mr. Martin’s case shows our dedication to protecting our most valuable asset, our children. This type of heinous crime simply will not be tolerated,” said Carmel Police Chief, Drake Sterling.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations and Carmel Police Department investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge James P. Hanlon.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston, who is prosecuting this case.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This investigation was conducted by the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a multiagency task force led by the Indiana State Police that investigates and prosecutes persons who use the internet to sexually exploit or entice children. Each year, Indiana ICAC investigators evaluate thousands of tips, investigate hundreds of cases, and rescue dozens of children from ongoing sexual abuse. Visit to learn more about their efforts.  


Updated June 12, 2024

Project Safe Childhood