ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – A Bristol, Virginia man, who corresponded with and sent lewd pictures to an FBI employee he believed to be a 14-year-old female, pleaded guilty today in federal court to a series of charges related to the distribution and possession of child pornography. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division made the announcement.
Jonathan Neal Sexton, 33, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. At sentencing, Sexton will be sentenced to an agreed upon term of imprisonment between 120-180 months. He will be sentenced on September 14, 2020.
According to court documents, between February 2020 and May 2020, Sexton used the chat application KIK to correspond with who he believed to be a 14-year-old female. The 14-year-old was actually an undercover employee of an FBI Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Task Force. During these chats, despite the “teen” being in the “clean area” of the KIK app, Sexton engaged the “teen” in conversations about masturbation, sex toys, sexual intercourse, and other topics. He also sent pictures of sex toys and videos of himself masturbating. He routinely asked the “teen” to send him nude pictures, and referenced the time when they could see each other and engage in sexual conduct. On multiple occasions, Sexton sent the “teen” pictures of prepubescent females nude and engaging with prepubescent males in sexual conduct.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Virginia State Police, United States Marshal’s Service, and the Bristol, Virginia Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary T. Lee and Lena Busscher are prosecuting the case for the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.