Macon Man Who Victimized a Child and Assumed Her Social Media Identity to Distribute Child Pornography is Convicted in Project Safe Childhood Case

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

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who assumed the social media identity of a 12-year-old girl using threats and then forced the victim to produce child sexual abuse material that he sold online, is facing a maximum of 30 years of federal imprisonment for his crime.

Anthony Sparks Brown, 27, of Macon, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self, III on Thursday, March 31. Brown faces a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years up to a maximum of 30 years of imprisonment, a maximum $250,000 fine and a maximum lifetime of supervised release. Brown will also have to register as a sex offender for life upon release from prison. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12. There is no parole in the federal system.

“The facts in this case are terrible, but, sadly, all too common. The epidemic of child sexual exploitation online is such that parents must empower themselves and their children with information and take the necessary proactive measures to protect themselves from online predators,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “Federal, state and local law enforcement resources are being engaged to track down and stop cyber child predators around the clock.”

“The GBI will continue to work tirelessly to protect innocent victims. No child should be subject to online exploitation. As we work with internet service providers and other law enforcement agency partners, we are ensuring that predators like this defendant are held accountable,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds.

According to court documents, the GBI received a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Jan. 2019, based on a report originating from Facebook detailing child sexual abuse material communicated between two Facebook users—a middle school-aged female (Jane Doe #1), and a 57-year-old man. An ensuing investigation ultimately revealed that Brown was using the Jane Doe #1 account to possess, distribute and sell child sexual abuse material.

Brown had met the real Jane Doe #1, a 12-year-old girl from Tennessee, on Instagram in 2018. Brown told investigators that she sent him nude images. Later, Brown threatened the 12-year-old on Facebook using an alias, sending her these images and other sexually explicit photos and stating that he was sure that she didn’t want her parents to see the images. Brown then proposed they make a deal whereby in exchange for Jane Doe #1’s Facebook login information, Brown would refrain from sending out her explicit photos. Jane Doe #1 complied and sent her credentials to Brown. That same day, Brown began soliciting sexual images and videos from the girl, using threats.                               

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Brown was taken into custody on July 9, 2019, at his residence at the Intown Suites Hotel in Macon, where he was also employed. Brown admitted he threatened the girl in order to receive her Facebook passwords and assumed her identity on Facebook, chatting with her friends and family on that platform. He further admitted to using threats to coerce more sexually exploitative images and videos from her, distributing those images and selling some of the images to her uncle.

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 the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The case was investigated by the GBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Kalim is prosecuting the case, with support from Assistant U.S. Attorney Joy Odom.