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Child Exploitation

Virginia man sentenced to more than 27 years for producing child pornography

NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk man was sentenced Thursday to 327 months in prison, followed by 300 months of supervised release, for producing child pornography. This sentence follows an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Norfolk Police Department.

Michael Thomas Sechrist, 45, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen following his April 3 guilty plea to one count of production of child pornography.

According to court documents and other public information, Sechrist was initially identified when a visitor to his home found a surreptitiously placed thumb drive that was found to contain images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  While some of those images came from the Internet, others were produced by Sechrist of a prepubescent female minor in southeastern Virginia.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi in the Eastern District of Virginia.