TULSA, Okla. — A 35-year-old former Oklahoma teacher pleaded guilty on Friday to digitally producing images depicting the sexual abuse of children and distributing almost 500 other graphic image and video files of the sexual abuse of children.
This guilty plea was announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, Northern District of Oklahoma. This case was investigated by Tulsa Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
At the plea hearing, Jerry Matthew Berry admitted to producing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and distributing child pornography in 2017 and 2018. Cyber Crimes detectives from Tulsa Police Department and HSI special agents discovered Berry’s illicit activities during a peer-to-peer file-sharing undercover investigation. After executing a search warrant on Berry’s apartment, investigators also discovered hundreds of additional images and videos of child pornography on his phone. Berry, a former private school teacher in Oklahoma City, admitted to distributing child pornography on file-sharing programs. He also admitted to downloading pictures of children from Facebook and digitally altering the photographs to depict himself sexually assaulting and physically harming the children.
“Tulsa Police Department Cyber Crimes detectives and Homeland Security special agents are resilient and committed to the fight to defend our children from online perpetrators. Their dedicated efforts enable the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring child sex offenders to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Shores. “These days, parents must be ever vigilant because predators like Mr. Berry are lurking about on the internet. The facts of this case are a stark reminder that parents should check their privacy settings on social media and be aware when posting photos of their children.”
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan accepted Berry’s guilty plea and set sentencing for May 7. At that time, Berry faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison, at least five years and up to life of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for each count. He remains in custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Nassar, Northern District of Oklahoma, prosecuted this case.
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 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2017, more than 2,700 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 900 victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.