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Press Release

Louisville Father Sentenced to 17 Years in Federal Prison for Enticing Two Indiana Children to Obtain Sexually Explicit Material via Facebook

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

TERRE HAUTE- Anthony Michael Bentley, 30, of Louisville, has been sentenced to seventeen years in federal prison, followed by fifteen years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of making false statements to the FBI. Bentley must also pay $10,000 in restitution to the minor victims.

According to court documents, from August 17 to August 22 of 2018, Bentley directed and coerced Minor Victim 1, who was 12 years old at the time, to send him sexually explicit images and videos via Facebook Messenger. Additionally, from January of 2018 through early 2020, Bentley directed and coerced Minor Victim 2, who was 17 years old at the time she met Bentley, to send him sexually explicit videos via Facebook Messenger. In both instances, Bentley sent messages coaching the children on how to take the explicit photos and videos.

Bentley misrepresented his name, image, and age on Facebook to entice the minor victims to communicate with him. He used the alias “Chris Jones” to hide his true identity and used photos of a young man he found online, identified as Individual 1, without his consent. Bentley also sent nude images of Individual 1 to Minor Victim 1 and claimed that they were pictures of himself. Investigators later learned that Individual 1 was a minor in those photographs.

On March 7, 2020, FBI investigators executed a search warrant at Bentley’s residence in Kentucky. At the time, Bentley told officials he did not have any knowledge of the Facebook account belonging to Chris Jones and claimed that he no longer had his old cell phone. However, investigators located the old cell phone under the carpet of a locked safe inside Bentley’s home. The cell phone contained the evidence and photographs of Individual 1 used on the fake Facebook account.

Investigators discovered that Bentley was using the Chris Jones Facebook account to communicate with females – including the minor victims – all hours of the day, including while his newborn child was sick in the hospital and while he was on family vacations.

“This supposed family man posed as an attractive teen boy on Facebook to win the trust of underage girls and entice them to send him sexually explicit material—exploiting children as young as just twelve years old for his own gratification,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Making his crimes worse, Bentley distributed nude images of the minor boy whose pictures he stole to create his alias, casting suspicion on an innocent person. He then lied to the FBI when he was discovered and confronted. Unfortunately, sexual predators know that social media platforms like Facebook are a fertile hunting ground. We urge caring adults to talk to their children about staying safe online. Thanks to the efforts of the FBI and our federal prosecutors, this criminal has been held accountable and the public will be safe from him for many years.”

The FBI investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Adam J. Eakman and MaryAnn T. Mindrum, who prosecuted 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.


Updated April 22, 2024

Project Safe Childhood