Georgia man sentenced to decades in prison after admitting he produced and possessed images of child sexual exploitation

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

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Liberty County man was sentenced to nearly 25 years in federal prison after admitting he produced and possessed child pornography.

John Paul Joseph Keegan, 31, of Midway, Ga., was sentenced to 295 months in prison after pleading guilty to Production of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Keegan to pay $3,000 in restitution, to register as a sex offender and to serve 15 years of supervised release after completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

“John Paul Keegan is being held responsible for his truly detestable exploitation of vulnerable children,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “This substantial prison sentence holds Keegan accountable and protects the community from this predator.”

Keegan’s wife, Sharon Elizabeth Keegan, 30, of Midway, Ga., faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to 30 years, after pleading guilty in April to Production of Child Pornography at the midway point of her trial in U.S. District Court.

The Keegans were indicted in May 2020 after an investigation launched through a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to Homeland Security Investigations. That tip led agents from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to search the Midway mobile home where the Keegans resided, and investigators seized electronic devices found to contain images and videos of child sexual exploitation that each of the two had produced and shared over the internet.

“Keegan will now face accountability for his heinous acts and the immeasurable pain he inflicted upon innocent children,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Children are among our most vulnerable populations and HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to use all available resources to protect them from exploitation.”

“The GBI will continue to work tirelessly to protect innocent victims of online exploitation,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds. “We are grateful for the partnerships we maintain with our local and federal agencies to bring these predators to justice.”

This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, and was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer J Kirkland and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons, with assistance from Asset Recovery Unit Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Sue Robichaux.

Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.