California man pleads guilty to sexually exploiting minor, possessing child pornography after traveling to Ohio to engage in sex acts with a 14-year-old
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Dennis K. Rawlins, 67, of Jackson, Ohio and Mark R. Heyd, 61, of Kailua, Hawaii with conspiring to produce, producing, distributing and possessing child pornography. Rawlins and Heyd were both also registered sex offenders as a result of prior convictions.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer announced the superseding indictment returned yesterday.
The superseding indictment alleges that beginning in the summer of 2015 and continuing through January of this year, the defendants induced a 15-year-old male to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing child pornography. Heyd allegedly sent Rawlins money through PayPal to take the victim on shopping trips, to movies and to various hotels in the Columbus, Ohio area. Rawlins engaged in sex acts with the victim in the hotels, and video of the sexual conduct was sent to Heyd via computer webcams and online chat services like Skype. Photographs were also taken on cell phones and exchanged via Kik messenger.
Given their prior convictions, Rawlins and Heyd face an enhanced mandatory life sentence for conspiracy to produce and production of child pornography. Rawlins faces 15 to 40 years in prison for distribution of child pornography and 10 to 20 years of incarceration for possession of child pornography. Committing a sex offense while registered as a sex offender adds a 10-year mandatory consecutive term of incarceration.
Heyd was arrested in Hawaii on March 16 and both men remain in custody.
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI Columbus Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes officers from the Westerville Police Department, Reynoldsburg Police Department, Powell Police Department and Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather A. Hill and Special Assistant Jennifer M. Rausch, Director of the Special Victims Unit for Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.