PLANO, Texas – A 35-year-old Wylie, Texas man has been sentenced for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox today.
Zachary Sean Layne pleaded guilty on Jan. 6, 2020, to distributing child pornography and was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan on Jan. 15, 2021.
According to information presented in court, in the spring of 2019, federal agents served a search warrant at Layne’s home in Wylie, Texas, following a report from a social media company about suspected child pornography being shared from a user at Layne’s residence. Layne admitted that he used the social media applications and that he regularly chatted with other individuals on the platform. He stated that he had been trading child pornography, via the social media application and cloud storage accounts, for more than a year. In addition to trading child pornography, Layne admitted to chatting with individuals he believed to be minors. He stated that he “catfished” some of the minors with the hopes that they would send him pornographic material. Layne further admitted that he engaged in sexually graphic conversations with many purported minors, including about meeting up for sex. There is no evidence that Layne followed through with plans to meet with minors to engage in sexual activity.
“Those who dare to prey on children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Cox. “Other would-be exploiters are on notice that EDTX and its law enforcement partners have zero tolerance for such despicable crimes.”
“Predators who exploit the innocence of children must not have any presence within our communities,” said Christopher Miller, Deputy Special Agent in Charge HSI Dallas. “We will work endlessly to ensure we remove these deviant criminals from our streets, using the full magnitude of our investigative resources to end the illegal business of sexual exploitation of minors.”
As part of his guilty plea, Layne admitted that he knowingly distributed child pornography, using cellular devices and the social media platform. Layne also agreed that he had shared the files in order to receive valuable consideration, namely, other and new child pornography. Moreover, Layne admitted that be distributed and possessed more than 600 images and videos of child pornography, and that the files depicted prepubescent minors and sadistic or masochistic abuse.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations Safety with assistance of the Wylie Police Department, Dallas Police Department, and the U.S. Department of Justice—Office of the Inspector General, Investigations Division. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller.