PIKEVILLE, KENTUCKY – A South Carolina man, Jonathan Edward Manigault, 36, was sentenced on Monday to 480 months in federal prison, by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell, for one count of production of child pornography and one count of knowingly receiving child pornography.
Manigault admitted that he directed Christina B. Mitchell, of Pike County, to take photographs of a 3-year-old victim engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Manigault provided Mitchell with specific, detailed instructions on what types of explicit photographs to produce and provide him. According to the plea agreement, Mitchell transmitted the photographs to Manigault using the Facebook Messenger application. Thereafter, Manigault had Mitchell agree to produce additional images of an additional underage victim.
Manigault pleaded guilty in September 2020.
Mitchell pleaded guilty, on August 26, 2019, to two counts of producing child pornography. According to her plea agreement, Mitchell produced sexually explicit images of a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old victim. Mitchell was sentenced to 420 months in federal prison, in February 2020.
Under federal law, Manigault and Mitchell must serve 85 percent of their prison sentences. Manigault will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 15 years, following his release.
“One of the greatest responsibilities of law enforcement is to protect young children from sexual exploitation, abuse, and the damage it causes,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “As this case shows, there are some who prey on astonishingly vulnerable victims. So, we will continue to do our part to ensure that these offenders are identified, prosecuted, and punished. The despicable conduct in this case justifies our efforts, and certainly warrants the punishments the Court has imposed.”
“There is no place in our society for criminals who prey upon our most precious and vulnerable children,” said James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office. “The sentences administered today are a direct reflection of a criminal justice system that will not stand for such contemptible behavior. The FBI and all of our law enforcement partners stand ready to use all of our available resources to protect our youngest citizens.”
Acting United States Attorney Shier; SAC Brown, FBI, Louisville Field Office; and Chief Chris Edmonds, Pikeville Police Department, jointly announced the sentences.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI Louisville Field Office, FBI Columbia Field Office, and the Pikeville Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenna E. Reed.
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.