INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting a Michigan teen and trafficking in child sexual abuse images and videos. He was previously convicted in state court of sexually abusing children and possessing images of child sexual abuse.
In 2020, investigators uncovered that Charles Piel, 24, had been sending and receiving images and videos of child sexual abuse over the internet, including sending such material to a minor child in Florida in 2019. Following his arrest, investigators further examined his electronic devices and online accounts and found other sexually explicit communications with a child in Michigan. The investigation showed that in September of 2020, Piel traveled to Michigan to engage in sexual conduct with the child, and that Piel made recordings of the conduct. Investigators found that after this, Piel continued to communicate with the child, and eventually created additional recordings of the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct over video conferencing. Piel maintained all these recordings, along with a larger collection of child sexual abuse images and videos, until his arrest in October of 2020.
At the time he committed these crimes, Piel had already been twice convicted of child sexual abuse offenses. In 2017, Piel was convicted in Hendricks County, Indiana of Sexual Battery for his sexual contact with two minor boys. He was sentenced to a term of probation. In 2018, while on probation, Piel committed and was convicted in Marion County of Possession of Child Pornography. He was placed on Community Corrections Home Detention, which he violated, resulting in a stint in jail. Following his release, Piel began his sexually explicit communications with the minor in Florida and the conduct that led to this federal prosecution.
“Charles Piel is a habitual child predator who made a career out of sexually abusing and exploiting children,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “I commend the work of the investigators and prosecutors who have taken this child predator out of our community and helped to bring justice to his young victims. This case is yet another example of the outstanding work of Indiana’s nationally-renowned Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”
In fiscal year 2019, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the ninety-four federal districts in the number of child exploitation cases prosecuted.
“The world is a safer place without Mr. Piel on the streets. No longer will he be able to prey on some our most innocent residents. Thank you to the men and women of IMPD who work day after day to keep our streets safe,” said IMPD Police Chief Randal Taylor.
“Today’s sentencing illustrates the Secret Service’s commitment to investigate crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children through our liaison efforts with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and our close partnerships with our state, local and federal agencies,” said Eric K. Reed, Special Agent in Charge, Secret Service Indianapolis Field Office. “The Secret Service is proud to have partnered with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this case to justice and protect our nation’s children from these most heinous crimes.”
This case was the result of an investigation by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Secret Service.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Kristina M. Korobov, who prosecuted the case, said Piel was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution and will be federally supervised for a life term following his release from prison.
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