MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison after he assumed the social media identity of a 12-year-old girl using threats and then forced the victim to produce child sexual abuse material, which he sold online.
Anthony Sparks Brown, 27, of Macon, was sentenced to serve 240 months in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self, III after he pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography. Brown will also register as a sex offender for life upon release from prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Anthony Brown’s ongoing exploitation of a middle schooler came to light thanks to a cybertip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. GBI agents tracked down the defendant, freeing the child from his escalating online threats,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “This case illustrates that it takes a cross-section of groups to include caring citizens and dedicated law enforcement to stop the online exploitation of children.”
“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.
Brown was taken into custody on July 9, 2019. 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.
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 prosecuted the case.