HOUSTON - A 21-year-old local man has been ordered to
federal prison for producing child pornography after exchanges on a social
media site, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Thomas Anthony Garrett
pleaded guilty April 3, 2019.
"If parents or guardians are going to allow their
minor children on social media, they must be very vigilant," said Patrick.
"No young child should have unsupervised access to social media and they
should not have any accounts a trusted adult cannot access at any time. Sadly,
there are too many predators out there that exploit children this way."
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt handed Garrett
a sentence of 220 months. The court heard evidence regarding a pattern of abuse
which rendered Garrett a repeat and dangerous sex offender. Garrett had also
sexually abused two other minor males - ages nine and 12.
Garrett will serve the rest of his life on supervised
release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have
to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to
children and the internet. Garrett will also be ordered to register as a sex
Garrett came to the attention of law enforcement in July
2016. A relative of a 12-year-old male victim had found inappropriate messages
and pictures on the minor's iPod and brought it to authorities in Pennsylvania.
At that time, law enforcement reviewed contents of
Facebook Messenger interactions between the victim and an individual later
determined to be Garrett. The exchanges included several sexually-explicit
images which Garrett had requested and the 12-year-old victim provided. The
files included exposed genitals and a video of the minor masturbating.
Through the investigation, authorities learned Garrett
met the minor victim on Facebook.
Garrett has been and will remain in custody pending
transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near
The Southwestern Regional Police Department in Spring
Grove, Pennsylvania, York County District Attorney's Office and the FBI
conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ann Leo prosecuted the
case which 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 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.usdoj.gov/psc<http://www.usdoj.gov/psc>.
For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc<http://www.usdoj.gov/psc>
and click on the tab "resources."