John David Baker, 30, is also required to register as a sex offender.
According to court documents, beginning in or about November 2008 through August 2010, Baker used computers and interactive computer services to engage in online conversations with several minor children. During this period, Baker worked as an actor and helped train and audition adults and children pursuing careers in the entertainment business. Baker also served as a talent judge for a talent competition in Florida. In this role, Baker met minor children who were auditioning for roles in the art and film industries.
After Baker contacted one of these children online, the child’s parent filed a complaint with law enforcement. Law enforcement subsequently interviewed Baker, and he acknowledged the director of the talent competition had confronted him about his inappropriate online contact with minors. He also admitted to having online sexual chats with other minors from the talent competition and to sending or trading sexual photos of himself and others during those chats. He solicited photos from at least 10 children in the talent competition. Baker obtained pornographic images over the Internet of at least one minor female, and he used those images to establish a fictitious online persona for himself. Using this false persona, Baker persuaded at least two other minor children to send him, via the Internet, images and videos of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
During the analysis of Baker’s computer, a forensic examiner located several images and a video of a minor male engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
"Mr. Baker abused his position as a talent judge and acting coach to pursue inappropriate relationships with minors," said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Tampa, which oversees the agency’s Jacksonville office that conducted this investigation. "We urge parents to talk to their children about how to protect themselves from sexual predators, and if they are exploited, they should report it. There are dedicated law enforcement officers and special agents at all levels of government who will do something about it. This case is testament to that. Mr. Baker will spend the next 25 years behind bars due to his actions."
Baker has been in U.S. Marshals custody since his arrest Sept. 7, 2012.
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 producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking 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.