Georgia soldier faces at least 15 years in prison for child porn production

A Fort Stewart soldier has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography after an investigation involving a 13-year-old victim, according to a news release. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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A Fort Stewart soldier has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography after an investigation involving a 13-year-old victim, according to a news release. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

A Fort Stewart soldier has pleaded guilty to producing child pornography after an investigation involving a 13-year-old victim, according to a news release.

Aaron D. Sutherland, 28, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on Thursday, according to the release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sutherland faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to a maximum 30 years in prison, the Department of Justice said. That will be followed by at least five years up to a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

Sutherland also will have to register as a sex offender for life after his release from federal prison, the DOJ said. Sentencing is scheduled April 28.

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“Parents must remain vigilant and monitor whom their children are communicating with on their cell phones and on social media because online predators are lurking,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in the news release. “Our office—working alongside federal, state and local authorities—will pursue significant penalties for any adults who sexually entice, abuse or harm a minor.”

According to court documents, Sutherland said he began communicating with the 13-year-old girl while he was on active duty last February.

Sutherland had the victim send multiple nude images and videos of a sexual nature, and he asked to meet the girl to have sex, according to the documents.

“Parents must remain vigilant and monitor whom their children are communicating with on their cell phones and on social media because online predators are lurking."

- U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary

The victim’s mother discovered her child messaging a man, later identified as Sutherland, last April, and she confiscated the girl’s phone, according to the documents.

In the messages, Sutherland stated the victim’s age, according to the news release. The mother reported the incident to authorities, and Sutherland was arrested May 3.

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Sutherland provided law enforcement with his secret image vault, where he saved all the pictures and videos of the child, according to the release.

This case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. It was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.