JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 22-year-old Middleburg man has pleaded guilty to two federal charges that he sexually abused an infant and a toddler and used them to produce images and videos of child pornography.
Andrew Ryan Leslie faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to 60 years, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervision.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Leslie has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 18, 2016.
According to court documents, in 2015, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations began an investigation into websites known to host images and videos depicting child pornography.
In 2016, Leslie was positively identified as a member of one of these websites. On Oct. 18, 2016, HSI agents and other law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Leslie’s residence in Middleburg.
The agents saw Leslie emerging from the master bedroom, and he said a minor child, referred to by Leslie as a “toddler,” had been in bed with him when the agents arrived.
During the search, agents found a digital camera next to Leslie’s bed in the master bedroom. Within the camera was a micro SD card containing a series of pornographic images depicting Leslie with two different minor children.
In several of the images, the same toddler (approximately 2 years old) was depicted. Other images depicted a different infant less than a year old. These images depicted Leslie sexually abusing both children.
Agents also seized several laptop computers, computer hard disk drives, tablets, cell phones, and cameras from Leslie’s residence. A forensic analysis of these items revealed that Leslie had produced, received, distributed, and possessed numerous images and videos depicting child pornography. Recovered logs of online conversations between Leslie and other individuals showed that Leslie had discussed engaging in sexual activity with several minor children.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States 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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
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