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April 8, 2021Chattanooga, TN, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI investigation leads to 40 years in prison for child exploitation of an infant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation resulted in a 480-month federal prison sentence on Wednesday for an individual guilty of committing child exploitation offenses involving a nine-month-old child.

The acting U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee made the announcement April 7, in Knoxville.

“Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators,” said Jerry C. Templet, Jr, special agent in charge, HSI Nashville. “HSI agents make it a top priority to protect vulnerable children from victimization by working with their law enforcement partners to investigate predators involved with the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material and ensure they are held accountable for their heinous actions. I commend our agents for their tireless efforts in this case, which resulted in a guilty plea and a lengthy federal prison sentence for the offender.”

Anthony Brett Banks, 30, formerly of Kannapolis, North Carolina, previously pleaded guilty to a superseding indictment charging him with transportation of child pornography and causing another person to transport and ship child pornography in interstate commerce.

According to court documents, Banks sexually abused his nine-month-old biological daughter, created digital videos of the abuse, and traded several of the images with someone he met in an online room dedicated to sexually abusing animals. The person with whom Banks swapped the images was located in east Tennessee.

Upon his release from prison, Banks is subject to 10 years of supervised release and is required to register with state sex offender registries and comply with special sex offender conditions.

Hamilton County (Tennessee) sheriff’s office and the North Carolina state bureau of investigation assisted HSI with the investigation.

“The US Attorney’s Office, along with its law enforcement partners, is committed to apprehending child sex predators wherever they operate. Today’s sentence sends a strong message to sexual predators and demonstrates our commitment to protecting the community’s most vulnerable victims,” said Francis M. Hamilton III, acting U.S. attorney.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 04/08/2021