INDIANAPOLIS – Brett Cearing, 30, of Attica, Indiana, was sentenced late yesterday to fifteen years in federal prison for sexually exploiting a 16-year-old minor and possessing child sexual abuse material.
According to court documents, Cearing was living with his girlfriend and her 14-year-old daughter in Attica. Beginning on May 4, 2020, and continuing until August 11, 2020, Cearing sexually exploited a 16-year-old child who was visiting his girlfriend’s daughter at Cearing’s residence. Cearing surreptitiously recorded the victim using a hidden camera disguised as a cell phone charger in a bathroom. The camera captured the child as she showered, used the restroom, and undressed. Cearing edited the videos and images to focus on the child’s genitalia and admitted in court that he recorded the child because he had a sexual interest in her. He hid the images and videos he produced of the minor child in a “Hyper Tornado Secret Calculator” application that featured a way to hide images and videos from view unless the user entered a certain key sequence on the calculator. Cearing also attempted to record his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter as she showered.
After Cearing was initially charged in August 2020 with child exploitation and voyeurism by the Fountain County Prosecutor’s Office, he posted bond and was released on pretrial supervision. On January 17, 2021, during his pretrial release, Cearing was arrested and charged with public indecency after he allegedly exposed himself and masturbated to a young woman in the Love’s parking lot in Knightstown, Indiana. Cearing was then charged with sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography by federal complaint in the Southern District of Indiana and ordered detained by a federal magistrate judge.
Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Herbert J. Stapleton, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated the case. The Fountain County Sheriff’s Department also provided valuable assistance. As part of Cearing’s sentence, Judge Barker ordered that he be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 7 years following his release from prison and pay $10,000 in restitution to the victim. Cearing must also register as sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school, as required by law.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who prosecuted this case.
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.
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 www.justice.gov/psc