MIL-OSI Security: Man Sentenced to 40 Years for Sexual Exploitation of a Child, Advertising Child Porn, and Distribution of Child Porn

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Source: United States Attorneys General

           Montgomery, Alabama – On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, Rocky Shay Franklin, a 36-year-old residing in Greenville, Alabama during the commission of his crimes, was sentenced to 480 months in prison for sexual exploitation of a child, advertising child pornography, and distribution of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Paul W. Brown. Following his 40-year prison sentence, Franklin will be on supervised release for the remainder of his life and will be required to register as a sex offender. There is no parole in the federal system.

            According to Franklin’s plea agreement and other court records, an investigation began in 2019 when law enforcement received numerous reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) identifying an IP address associated with suspected online child porn activity. The IP address was affiliated with a residence in Greenville, Alabama. While investigating the reports at the suspected location, Franklin was identified as a person of interest and multiple electronic devices were searched. Analysis of the devices confirmed Franklin’s involvement.

           During a plea hearing that took place on July 28, 2021, Franklin specifically admitted that in the summer of 2018, he used, induced, and enticed two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction. In addition, Franklin acknowledged that from May 30, 2019, through October 11, 2019, he uploaded multiple videos to a pornography website. Franklin did so from various locations in Greenville, Alabama and Montgomery, Alabama.  The videos contained visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Franklin advertised these files through the website and requested a monetary fee for distribution. Franklin also admitted to distributing child pornography on at least three occasions using various online accounts and platforms. First, on February 15, 2019, Franklin used a messenger app to send videos of two minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Then, on October 11, 2019, Franklin sent links to another individual knowing that the linked websites contained pornographic images and videos of children. Lastly, Franklin admitted that, on May 11, 2019, he knowingly transported child pornography, by uploading the files to one of his online accounts.

           Based on this conduct, during the July 2021 plea hearing, Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sexual exploitation of a child, one count of advertising child pornography, and two counts of distribution of child pornography.     

           “Protecting children from exploitation by predators is one of law enforcement’s most important responsibilities,” stated U.S. Attorney Stewart. “Producing and trading in child pornography is a particularly devastating crime because it robs children of their innocence and inflicts long lasting harm. Although my office can never fully repair the damage inflicted by these predators, we can ensure that justice is served on those who commit these terrible crimes. I applaud the efforts of all the agencies involved in investigating this case for identifying Franklin’s criminal activity and putting a stop to it before more children were victimized.”

           “Today’s sentence ensures Rocky Shay Franklin will be unable to harm children in our community for a very long time, and we hope his victims will be able to recover from the emotional scars left by his actions,” stated Special Agent in Charge Brown. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and bring to justice those intent on harming children.”

           The FBI and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigated this case, with assistance from NCMEC. Assistant United States Attorneys James Patrick Lamb and MaryLou E. Bowdre prosecuted the case.

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