Winchester Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Production Charges
Harrisonburg, VIRGINIA – A Winchester, Virginia man, who filmed himself sexually exploiting two minor children, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg to two federal child pornography production charges, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.
LaMarcus Thomas, 32, of Winchester, Va., was indicted on January 13, 2016 on six counts of producing child pornography. Today in District Court, the defendant pled guilty to two counts of production of child pornography.
According to evidence presented at today’s guilty plea hearing, in the fall of 2014 the Winchester Police Department began an investigation into a complaint that two children had been molested by Thomas. After being arrested on state sex crime allegations for acts against the two children, the Winchester Police Department recovered a cellphone that belonged to Thomas.
Examination of the cell phone revealed numerous images and movies of child pornography depicting two different minor boys. It appeared the two victims were likely sleeping during the production of the images and movies, which showed various images of the penis and hands of the defendant. Thomas admitted producing the child pornography and identified himself and the two minors depicted in the images in the videos. The investigation determined that Thomas spent significant time with the two minors depicted in the videos, including spending overnight visits with the victims.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Virginia State Police and the Winchester Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Nancy S. Healey and Criminal Division Trial Attorney Leslie Williams Fisher of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) prosecuted the case for the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.