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Press Release

Shelby County Man Sentenced to Life (Plus Ten Years) in Prison for Sexually Abusing and Exploiting Infant, Toddler and Teens

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

DAYTON – Robert Steven Jones, 30, of Anna, Ohio, was sentenced to life (plus 10 years) in prison for sexually exploiting minors, including an infant, a seven-year-old girl and numerous teenage girls.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose.

According to court documents, while living in Illinois in 2013, Jones recorded himself masturbating and committing other sexual acts on and with a seven-month-old infant. The nearly five-minute video also depicts Jones engaging in acts of physical violence with the baby – including slapping, punching, shaking, restraining and suffocating the infant.

In the same week, Jones recorded a second video, this one approximately 10 minutes in length. This video further depicts Jones holding the baby up to the camera while smothering and choking the infant to such an extent that the baby slowly became limp and turned a blueish color, apparently unconscious.

In addition to making comments such as “You want to see a baby pass the f*** out?,” and “That’s a dead baby, that’s a dead f****** baby, yeah, dead f****** baby,” Jones struck and threw the baby. The baby survived.

In June 2014, Jones moved to Ohio, residing in Sidney, Piqua and later Anna.

In August 2015, law enforcement officers discovered the videos on Jones’s cell phone while executing a search warrant at his home.

In addition to the charged offenses, Jones admitted to molesting a seven-year-old female at his residence in Ohio on at least two occasions in July 2015, and to producing two videos of the conduct on his cell phone.

Additionally, Jones met with and/or communicated with numerous other victims, aged 13 years to 16 years, for the purpose of engaging in prohibited sexual acts and creating child pornography. This included victims living in other states such as New York and Tennessee.

“Jones’s crimes are among the most horrific, abhorrent, and disturbing crimes that a human being could commit,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “The United States does not take lightly advocating for life in prison, but Jones’s conduct and risk of recidivism warrant that sentence.”

Jones was arrested on November 4, 2015 by criminal complaint, and he has remained in custody since. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2016.

Jones pleaded guilty in September 2017 to eight counts of production of child pornography, two counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, and one count of commission of a felony offense involving a minor while being registered as a sex offender. This last count carries with it a statutorily mandated 10-year sentence, which must be imposed consecutive to any other sentence.

Prior to his guilty pleas, Jones sought unsuccessfully to suppress all of the evidence against him due to the FBI’s use of a “Network Investigative Technique,” which had initially led investigators to Jones as a user of a child pornography website on the “dark web.” As a result of that initial lead and subsequent search warrants, FBI agents uncovered evidence of additional crimes, including the hands-on offenses to which Jones pleaded guilty. 

Since pleading guilty, Jones has attempted to withdraw his guilty plea on two occasions, both of which were denied by the court.

This case resulted from the national FBI investigation “Operation Pacifier” which involved the takedown of a “dark web” site dedicated to child pornography. Agents uncovered IP addresses and other information that helped locate and identify users of the child pornography website. Investigators sent more than 1,000 leads to FBI field offices in every state in the country and thousands more to oversees partners.

As a result of the investigation, at least 350 U.S.-based individuals have been arrested, 25 producers of child pornography have been prosecuted, 51 alleged hands-on abusers have been prosecuted, and 55 American children who were subjected to sexual abuse have been successfully identified or rescued.

“Let’s be clear. Jones was apprehended and brought to justice because the FBI, with court authorization, was able to use the same kind of advanced technology to investigate the offense that criminals use to commit their crimes or evade detection.” Glassman said. “When we debate the impact of law enforcement investigations on internet privacy, these are the stakes.”

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, as well as First Assistant United States Attorney Vipal J. Patel and Assistant United States Attorney Amy M. Smith, who are prosecuting the case.

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Updated July 26, 2018

Project Safe Childhood