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September 13, 10

NEWS / Rock Hill Man Pleads Guilty in Child Exploitation Case


COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Michael Alexander Pearson, age 39, of Rock Hill, pled guilty on Thursday, September 9, 2010, in federal court to three counts involving taking videos and pictures of four children as they posed naked and engaged in sexual acts with Pearson, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2260A. That statute imposes mandatory penalties on persons who are required to register as sex offenders and thereafter commit certain federal crimes involving the exploitation of children. At the time of his charged conduct, Pearson was a registered sex offender with the state of South Carolina as a result of a 1999 conviction for committing a lewd act on a child under 16. United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie of Columbia accepted the plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

During the plea hearing, Pearson admitted that in 2008 and early 2009, he watched four children ranging in ages from 2 to 10. While watching them, he took pictures with a cell phone camera as they posed naked. On other occasions, Pearson used a video camera to make videos of three of the children, aged 2, 3, and 8, as they engaged in sexual contact with Pearson.

Mr. Nettles stated that each of the counts to which Pearson pleaded guilty carries a 10-year sentence, $250,000 fine, and lifetime supervised release. In his plea agreement, however, Pearson agreed that the maximum sentence of 30 years without possibility of parole is the appropriate sentence that should be imposed.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cooperation with the Rock Hill Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Dean A. Eichelberger of the Columbia office handled the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

http://columbia.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel10/co091010.htm

 




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