JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville man pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of using a minor to produce videos depicting child pornography. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO).
Charles Franklin Hudson Jr., 38, of Jacksonville, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release on each count. He was arrested in Jacksonville Jan. 8, and has been in custody since that time.
"The victimization of our youth, including child pornography offenses, remain among the highest priorities for HSI and we will continue to bring those involved in these despicable crimes to justice," said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge for HSI Tampa.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, an officer with the JSO was dispatched to a residence in Jacksonville in response to a call regarding allegations of sexual battery on a minor child. JSO Sex Crimes detectives subsequently interviewed the minor child, who indicated that she has been sexually abused by Hudson.
On Jan. 8, JSO detectives obtained a search warrant for Hudson's residence in Jacksonville and he was arrested later that day. During the execution of the search warrant at his residence, officers discovered, among other things, numerous items of digital media including multiple computers, cameras, SD cards, CDs and DVDs. Located in the attic of the residence was a backpack containing cameras, sex devices and restraints, along with several pill bottles bearing Hudson's name. One of the pill bottles contained five SD media cards. Subsequent forensic analysis of the media cards revealed that they contained approximately 90 video and image files that depicted sexually explicit conduct involving Hudson. At least two of the videos, which had been produced by Hudson, depicted Hudson and a minor child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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-THE-LOST.
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.