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Press Release

Marion Man Pleads Guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ABINGDON, Va. – A Marion, Virginia man pleaded guilty last week to using the online messaging service KIK to distribute child sex abuse materials featuring prepubescent females.

According to court documents, Travis Shane Smith, 38, was identified by an undercover law enforcement officer working out of Wisconsin between May 4, 2020 and June 3, 2020, as being a member of a known child pornography online chat room.

Smith used the KIK username “tman_1983” to distribute child sex materials onto a KIK chatroom messaging board. Specifically, Smith distributed four videos of prepubescent females engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including two videos of adult males having sex with prepubescent females.

 “Distributing videos depicting the sexual abuse of children perpetuates their trauma and abuse, and simply will not be tolerated,” Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel P. Bubar stated today.  “It remains a top priority of our office to investigate and prosecute those who seek to victimize children.  We appreciate the good work of our federal, state and local partners, who brought Smith to justice.”

“The FBI and our investigative partners are dedicated to protecting these victims, who become pawns in this world of online sexual exploitation; and will work together to identify and prosecute these criminals,” said Stanley M. Meador. Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. “There are resources to help these victims, and we encourage anyone who has been victimized or is aware of an on-going incident to report it to law enforcement immediately.”

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly distributing one or more visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15, 2021 and faces a mandatory minimum sentenced of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine his sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Virginia State Police, Smyth County Sheriff’s Office, and Marion Police Department are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Busscher is prosecuting the case. 

Updated September 20, 2021