Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Kurt Batucan Sheldon (29, Interlachen) with one count of production of child exploitation material and two counts of distribution of child exploitation material. If convicted, Sheldon faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, and up to 30 years, in federal prison for the production count and a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, on each distribution count. In a previous detention hearing, held on September 14, 2020, the court ordered Sheldon detained pending further proceedings.
According to the indictment, Sheldon produced child exploitation material on May 3, 2020, and distributed child exploitation material on May 24 and May 26, 2016.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
Any person who was, or knows of someone who may have been, a possible child victim is urged to contact HSI at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or online via http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.
This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ashley Washington and Kelly Karase.
It is another case 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 sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.