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05/29/2013

Northwest Florida man pleads guilty to manufacturing child pornography

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A northwest Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday to three criminal charges related to the production of child pornography. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

On June 21, Donyel James Fitts, 28, of Sneads, persuaded and coerced a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct so he could photograph the minor. Additionally, on two occasions in October 2012, he videotaped a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He also admitted that he took videos and photographs of himself engaged in sex acts with a 4-year-old child.

Fitts is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 21 in Panama City. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, followed by a minimum of five years of supervised release.

This investigation was also 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.