PANAMA CITY, Fla. - James Michael Beall, 30, of Panama City, was arrested today on a federal indictment charging him with distribution and possession of child pornography, and with enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Panama City, the Bay County Sheriff's Office and the Thornton Police Department.
"Through partnerships like the one we have with the Bay County Sheriff's Office, we will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases," said Susan McCormick, ICE special agent in charge of the Office of Investigations overseeing Panama City.
Beall had his initial appearance on the indictment in the U.S. District Court in Panama City before U.S. Magistrate Judge Larry A. Bodiford. Trial is scheduled to begin on May 10 before U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak.
If convicted, Beall faces 15 to 30 years in prison for enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, 5 to 20 years for distribution of child pornography, and a maximum term of ten years for possession of child pornography.
"The Bay County Sheriff's Office will continue to work with other professionals in an effort to keep our children safe from predators. This case is a great example of the commitment of law enforcement nationwide to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our kids," said Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Love.
An indictment is merely a formal charge by the grand jury. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.