Smith County Man Guilty of Child Exploitation Violations

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

TYLER, Texas – A Tyler man has pleaded guilty to federal child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

Daniel Dylan Skipworth, 20, pleaded guilty to transporting a minor to engage in sexual activity today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

According to information presented in court, Skipworth admitted that in April 2021, he transported a 13-year-old he met online from the state of Alabama to his residence in Tyler to commit the offense of sexual abuse of a minor.  Skipworth’s conviction is the result of a cooperative effort involving the FBI, Tyler Police Department, and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office, who undertook the investigation after analyzing GPS data associated with the phone of a child who had been reported missing by her foster parents in Alabama.

“Children in our community are safer today than yesterday,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.  “Parents must be aware that dangerous predators lurk behind computer screens in our homes.  Like protecting our children who play at the park, we too must take precaution to protect our most vulnerable population in the cyber-world.  Law enforcement places protecting children at our highest priority.  To those who harm children, we will find you, arrest you, prosecute you and, seek the harshest punishment for you.”

“No child should ever have to go through this, and we will do all that we can to ensure that vulnerable members of our community are protected from those who seek to do them harm,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The defendant will be held accountable for his egregious actions, and we will remain committed to investigating anyone who exploits children.”

“The Smith County District Attorney’s Office is grateful for the cooperation of federal and local law enforcement to protect society and this child victim, while ensuring that the defendant is held accountable as a convicted sex offender,” said Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman.

Skipworth faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.  The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.  In addition, Skipworth will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

This case is 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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.justice.gov/psc.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Tyler Resident Agency, Tyler Police Department and Smith County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucas Machicek.


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