These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
David Simpkins, 25, has been charged with producing child pornography involving two young victims.
Hogsett said the filing of formal charges comes as his office has launched Operation Community Watch, a new effort which aims to reduce the abuse of Hoosier children through innovative investigative techniques and aggressive prosecution.
"This case represents the kind of collaborative, cross-country investigation that Operation Community Watch is designed to foster," Hogsett said. "What began as a tip to law enforcement in Boston ended over the weekend with the arrest of this defendant, and the end of his alleged abusive acts against these young victims."
According to charging documents released Aug. 21, HSI special agents in Boston recently discovered a series of images depicting child pornography. The HSI office in Indianapolis, with assistance from a Carmel Police Department detective assigned to the Hamilton County Metropolitan Crimes against Children Task Force, traced those images to Indianapolis. Evidence was allegedly discovered that indicated the images at some point had been distributed by defendant Simpkins.
Subsequent investigation allegedly revealed that two local victims are depicted in these images. The victims are very young children, both under 3 years old, and the images indicate the abusive acts took place at a home in Indianapolis where the defendant had occasionally acted as a babysitter for the victims.
On Aug. 17, representatives from the local HSI Task Force located Simpkins in Muncie, Ind., at which time he was arrested and federally charged.
According to Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota, Southern District of Indiana, who is prosecuting this case, Simpkins faces decades in prison if convicted. Simpkins also could be sentenced to years of supervised release at the end of his prison term, as well as lifetime registration as a sexual offender.
Informations, indictments and criminal complaints are only a charge and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.