INDIANAPOLIS – Jonathan P. Colson, 52, of Frankfort, Indiana, was sentenced to 136 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to distributing and possessing child sex abuse material depicting prepubescent children.
According to court documents, from April 2018 to April 2020, Colson utilized the chat feature of the online gaming platform, Plato, to send sexually explicit messages describing child sex abuse material to another individual. During those online conversations, Colson bragged that he was molesting children in his family. Colson also distributed child sex abuse material to the individual. The individual contacted law enforcement. Law enforcement officers identified the user of the online gaming application as Colson and recovered the messages and images that Colson had sent and distributed to the individual using Plato.
On August 20, 2020, law enforcement officers searched Colson’s home pursuant to a federal search warrant, and recovered several devices used by Colson to download, distribute, and possess child sex abuse material. The images and videos that Colson distributed and possessed included depictions of children as young as 10 engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
“Criminals like this defendant exploit the perceived anonymity of online gaming platforms to further their sexual interest in children,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Pedophiles who believe they can continue to trade horrific images of child sexual abuse online are sorely mistaken. The sentence imposed today shows that these offenders will be identified and will be removed from our communities.”
“While no amount of time in federal prison can undo the damage this predator did to his young victims, it should send a strong message to others who would engage in criminal sexual activity that the FBI and our partners will continue to pursue those who would victimize young children,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton.
The FBI investigated this case with valuable assistance from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jane M. Stinson. As part of the sentence, Judge Stinson ordered that Colson be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 10 years following his release from federal prison and pay $5,000 pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Colson must also register as sex offender wherever he lives, works, or goes to school, as required by law.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States 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