Monday, May 3, 2010

Northeast Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to His Role in Internet Child Molestation

GREGORY HUNTER, 50, of Mt. Airy, Georgia, pleaded guilty today (April 30) in federal court in Gainesville, Georgia, to coercing a 9-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct before a webcam for the purpose of transmitting a live depiction of the child and the graphic images over the Internet.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant conspired with the stepfather of a 9-year-old to have the child engage in sexually explicit conduct before a webcam. Our children deserve our protection, and those who abuse and prey on children deserve to go to prison.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The national investigation which uncovered the victimization of this 9-year-old child as well as child predator Gregory Hunter reminds us that the Internet can be a dangerous place in that it provides access by these predators to our children. The FBI has many agents throughout the country dedicated to working with their local and state law enforcement partners regarding crimes against children matters and the value of the information sharing process in these investigations cannot be overstated.”

According to United States Attorney Yates and information presented in court: A national FBI child pornography investigation initiated in Oklahoma between 2008 and 2009 led agents to a number of subjects across the country, including HUNTER. Based on evidence gathered during the investigation, a federal search warrant was executed at HUNTER's home on February 3, 2009, and HUNTER was arrested. HUNTER acknowledged that in 2008 he began communicating via the Internet with a man in California regarding child pornography. The California man ultimately offered that his own stepdaughter, who at the time was 9 years old, was available for live, sexually explicit performances before a webcam in his home. On numerous occasions over the course of the next three months, HUNTER conspired with the stepfather to persuade and induce the girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of a live webcam session that he transmitted over the internet to HUNTER. During the sessions, HUNTER repeatedly made graphic requests of the girl and on at least one occasion suggested that the stepfather get the child “a little drunk” and engage in sexual intercourse with her.

In August 2009, in Sacramento, California, the stepfather was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his convictions in federal district court for producing, transporting, and possessing child pornography.

HUNTER is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Court Judge Richard W. Story, who has not yet set a date for the sentencing hearing. HUNTER faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI.

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