JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Neighbors of a 49-year-old Jacksonville man who admitted to watching live sex shows involving children said Thursday that they were disturbed to learn of the charges against him.
Justin Laurence McKinley pleaded guilty two days ago to sending notices over the internet to solicit the live molestation of children so he could watch it online, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
McKinley faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to 30 years, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervision.
McKinley's neighbors said the charges are distressing, even though the abuse did not happen in McKinley's home.
“It hurts,” neighbor Marvin McCoy said. “You know, I have my kids growing up here. My son, my daughter at the time. It's kind of bewildering.”
McKinley was arrested by FBI agents at his Southside home in May, and it was only then that his neighbors learned of the allegations.
According to court documents, McKinley paid to watch live streaming “sex shows” of children being molested, sometimes by their own parents, and encouraged others to watch the shows with him. The children and their molesters were overseas.
The victims depicted in the streaming videos ranged in age from a newborn to an 8-year-old child.
“There's a lot of kids in the area. It's kind of gut-wrenching to hear newborns to 8 years old. That is brutal, really brutal,” McCoy said.
The FBI identified several individuals in the U.S. who were associated with the website, which came under investigation in 2015.
The website was used by individuals in a foreign country to broadcast the live streaming “sex shows” of children being molested to online viewers who had paid a fee.
Court documents showed that between January 2014 and December 2015, McKinley sent a total of 100 electronic fund transfers, totaling $31,415, to the individuals who molested the children in the “sex shows.”
Law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at McKinley’s residence on May 27. During an interview, McKinley admitted that he had solicited others to molest children and live stream video of the conduct to him, and he also admitted that he had recorded many of the sessions.
Forensic analysis of McKinley’s computer media revealed that a particular external hard drive contained at least 613 videos and 6,846 images depicting the sexual abuse of children.
New4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it would have been hard for neighbors to tell what was happening inside McKinley's home.
“This is something that's hard to detect by neighbors, because they do it in the privacy of their own homes,” Smith said. “Unless they saw something on social media where they're talking about this or the site or anything that has to do with juvenile sexual activity.”
For those who know McKinley, it’s a shock.
“It's amazing how you've got to watch out for who lives next to you,” neighbor Francis Garcia said.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement authorities in several other countries. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case brought as 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 United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.