Michigan man sentenced to 35 years for enticing Okaloosa child to produce pornography
PENSACOLA — A Michigan man has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for enticing a 9-year-old Okaloosa County girl to produce child pornography, according to release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Frank Leon Stapleton, 45, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, was sentenced in federal court Friday after pleading guilty to charges of enticement of a minor, production of child pornography and transfer of obscene matter to a minor.
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In June 2019, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was contacted regarding communications of a sexual nature between an unknown person and a 9-year-old girl via the Internet.
Deputies observed text communications on the girl's cellphone in which the person enticed her to produce child pornography of herself, then directed that explicit images and videos be sent to him.
The person also transmitted images and videos of adults engaged in sex acts to the child.
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Through collaborative efforts, deputies and agents with Homeland Security Investigations identified the person as Stapleton, a previously convicted sex offender who was at the time on supervised release after a prior federal conviction involving his possession of child pornography in Michigan.
“There is no greater charge than the protection of our children,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Jason R. Coody said in a written statement. “Acts of such depravity, committed by a previously convicted sex offender while under court-ordered supervision, highlight the danger to our most vulnerable. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who prey upon our children.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey M. Tharp.