South Jordan Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Producing and Distributing Child Exploitation Materials

2 mins read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SALT LAKE CITY – Thomas Wallin, 23, of South Jordan, was sentenced to serve 18 years in federal prison and a lifetime of supervised release, after pleading guilty to the production and dissemination of child exploitation materials. Wallin will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

In the plea agreement, Wallin admitted to sexually abusing a minor in 2019, and to producing and distributing a sexually explicit depiction of the abuse using the internet. 

According to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, in August of 2020, HSI investigators received a request for assistance from Australian law enforcement officials related to an individual located in Utah who was distributing child exploitation materials with an individual located in Australia. The suspect in Australia had been arrested earlier by Australian authorities, and after a review of the Australian’s Telegram social media account, he was found to have been exchanging child exploitation materials with a Utahn believed to be Thomas Wallin, of South Jordan, Utah. The investigation showed, that in 2019, the two used the Telegram platform to share sexually explicit videos of minors under the age of seven years old, including a video which depicted Wallin sexually abusing a three-year old boy, and a separate explicit video of the same minor. Authorities were able to confirm it was Wallin who was abusing the minor in part through a distinctive bracelet worn by Wallin in the video which was later found in his home during a search warrant. Authorities also identified the presence of a mole on Wallin’s hand, which also appeared in the same video. During an interview with an investigator from HSI, Wallin admitted to recording himself sexually abusing a minor male and that he had used Telegram to receive child exploitation materials from individuals using the internet. Digital media seized from Wallin at the time of arrest contained over 20 sexually explicit images of minor children under the age of twelve being sexually exploited.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting minor victims from violent criminals who prey on their innocence,” said U.S. Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “The troubling facts of this case should be a reminder for parents and guardians of young children to be extremely careful of who your children are left alone with. Thanks to the investigative work by special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the defendant in this case will be in federal prison for almost two decades, and the victims in this case can begin healing from the trauma caused by these crimes.” 

“This lengthy sentence is a testament to the repugnant nature of child exploitation crimes which only perpetuates the lasting trauma endured by victims,” said Lucia Cabral-DeArmas, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations- Las Vegas. “Our hope is that this sentence sends a message that our HSI agents will aggressively pursue anyone who attempts to prey on our nation’s most vulnerable population, our children. Let today be the starting point for the healing process for the victims and their families.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.