USA: Registered sex offender sentenced to 50 years in prison for using Facebook to distribute child pornography

A man in Indiana, USA, was sentenced to 50 years in prison and then 15 years in prison for supervising the use of social media to produce child pornography. This is according to a publication by the US Department of Justice.

Lorenzo Johnson, 33, was convicted Aug. 16 by a federal jury of three counts of conspiracy to produce child pornography, one count of distributing child pornography and one count of being a felony with possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Johnson used Facebook accounts on behalf of others to identify women with access to children who appeared to be experiencing financial hardship.

Johnson, a registered sex offender, offered those women money to take sexual pictures of infants and teenagers they knew, and successfully persuaded three such women, who were later charged with child pornography offenses, to send him pictures depicting the sexual abuse of infants and children.

One such woman later pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. A second is due to plead guilty on Dec. 21. The two women pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Illinois, and the charges against a third woman were dropped in the Northern District of Indiana because she died during the prosecution.

In an interview with the FBI, Johnson admitted that he also sought the production of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from other Facebook users as a means of extortion. The evidence presented at the trial showed that Johnson had asked one woman to produce such materials so that he could “hold something over her head.”

In addition, Facebook records put into evidence have shown that Johnson discusses child sexual abuse with his accomplices in the conspiracies and threatens to “expose” them if they do not agree to produce such materials. Johnson was previously convicted in 2009 in Illinois of aggravated sexual abuse involving a minor.

“As the jury unanimously ruled, Lorenzo Johnson has repeatedly persuaded vulnerable women to sexually exploit infants and young children,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. said. Politit Jr. from the Criminal Department of the Department of Justice. “Today’s sentence conveys a strong message that criminals targeting vulnerable members of our society, and especially children, will be prosecuted.”

“Lorenzo Johnson’s criminal conduct deserves the lengthy sentence the judge imposed today,” said U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson of the Northern District of Indiana. “Manipulating vulnerable women to produce pornographic images of voiceless children is a heinous criminal behavior. I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for their hard work in doing justice to this case.”

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Cook State Attorney’s Office in Cook County.

By Editor

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