CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced today Derek Robert Seely, 32, of Waxhaw, N.C. to 30 years in prison for production of child pornography, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Bell also ordered Seely to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Charlotte, and Robert Schurmeier, Director of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI) join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, in September 2018, law enforcement became aware that an individual later identified as Seely was sharing child pornography online. Court records show that, in February 2019, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Seely’s residence and determined that Seely actively traded child pornography online. Law enforcement also recovered multiple electronic devices, including three external hard drives. A forensic examination of the seized items revealed that Seely possessed approximately 500 videos and 240 images depicting the sexual abuse of children. Court documents also show that Seely also produced child pornography, which he distributed to others.
On August 31, 2020, Seely pleaded guilty to production of child pornography. He is in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked HSI and SBI for their investigation of the case. Assistant United States Attorney Alfredo De La Rosa, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.
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 the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.