Jury convicts Westerville man of sexually exploiting a five-year old
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A United States District Court jury has convicted Christopher M. Sammons, 28, of four counts related to creating child pornography of his sexual abuse of a five-year old. Sammons faces at least 15 years in prison.
The jury reached the verdict late Friday, June 25 following a trial that began on June 21 before U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison.
According to court documents and trial testimony, on March 11, 2019, an undercover FBI agent in Little Rock, Arkansas, received a message from Sammons regarding sexual interest in children.
Throughout their conversations, Sammons encouraged the undercover agent to “just make some homemade stuff” when discussing the availability of child pornography.
Sammons detailed sexually abusing a then five-year-old victim and also offered to “share her next time if you’re interested in a long-term thing.” Sammons sent the agent child pornography files and suggested plans for he and the agent to exchange videos of them sexually abusing minors.
Based on IP address information, the investigative lead was forwarded to FBI Columbus and a Task Force Officer here began communicating with Sammons. Sammons told the task force officer he had been sexually abusing the victim for a year.
The jury convicted Sammons of one count of sexually exploiting a minor (punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison), two counts of making a notice for child pornography (15 to 30 years in prison) and one count of distributing child pornography (five to 20 years in prison).
Congress sets the maximum statutory sentence. Sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Court at a future hearing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati District; Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler and other members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force announced today’s verdict. Senior Litigation Counsel Heather A. Hill and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Rausch, Legal Director of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Human Trafficking Initiative, represented the United States in this case.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit https://www.justice.gov/psc.
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