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July 16, 2021Frankfort, KY, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI investigation leads to lengthy federal sentence for child exploitation

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Berea, Kentucky man was sentenced to serve 214 months in federal prison for using a 7-year-old victim to produce child exploitation material.

The acting U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Kentucky made the announcement Thursday.

“Our agents make it a top priority to protect children from online sexual predators such as this,” said Jerry C. Templet, Jr, special agent in charge, HSI Nashville. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that these predators are apprehended and pay the price for their heinous crimes.”

Bradley Scott Helton, 33, previously pleaded guilty to communicating with the victim via an app called “Kiss Kiss: Spin the Bottle.” He admitted to chatting with the victim, sending sexual videos and pictures, and requesting the victim send sexual videos in return. Helton further acknowledged that he persuaded and used the 7-year-old to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction. The images traveled in interstate commerce when the victim, who was in Texas, sent them via the app to Helton in Kentucky.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kentucky State Police.

Under federal law, Helton must serve 85% of his prison sentence and will be supervised by U.S. Probation for 25 years upon his release from prison.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006, by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. attorneys' offices and the criminal division's child exploitation and obscenity section, PSC marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about PSC, please visit

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: 07/16/2021