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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 22, 2015

St. Thomas Man Sentenced To 31 Years In Prison For Child Exploitation Offenses

St. Thomas, USVI – District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez today sentenced Tony Jefferson Browne, 31, of St Thomas, to 372 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for coercion and enticement of a minor, announced United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez. Judge Gomez also sentenced Browne to 360 months in prison for production of child pornography, 240 months for receipt of child pornography, both with a lifetime of supervised release, and 120 months for transfer of obscene materials to a minor, with three years of supervised release. Browne was ordered to serve his sentences concurrently.

On March 4, 2014, after a two-day trial in District Court on St. Thomas, the jury found Browne guilty of 12 counts of federal child exploitation offenses involving four girls ranging from ages 12 to 17. The jury found Browne guilty of four counts of production of child pornography, one count of coercion and enticement of a minor, four counts of receipt of child pornography, and three counts of transfer of obscene material to a minor.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Browne first made contact with the minor girls on Facebook, where he pretended to be a female and befriended them. After befriending the minors, Browne persuaded them to send him nude and sexually suggestive photos of themselves. After receiving the photos, Browne then contacted the minors using his Facebook account “Billy Button,” and threatened to place the minors’ nude and sexually suggestive photos on the Internet if they did not send him additional photos and have sex with him.

Suspected child exploitation or missing children cases may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via its toll-free 24–hour hotline at 202-514-5678, or HSI at (340) 693-2250.

U.S. Attorney Sharpe commended the efforts of HSI, the Virgin Islands Police Department, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter, who prosecuted the case.

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Updated June 22, 2015