Georgia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison on Federal Child Pornography Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 11, 2013|
JACKSONVILLE—U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan yesterday sentenced Stephen Joseph Woods (34, Savannah, Georgia) to 15 years in prison for sending notices over the Internet offering to produce and receive child pornography. Woods was also ordered to serve a life term of supervision and to register as a sex offender, following his release from prison. Woods has been in custody since his arrest on November 2, 2012, in St. Augustine, Florida.
Woods pleaded guilty to this charge on March 14, 2013.
According to court documents, during October and November 2012, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO), the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJCSO), and other law enforcement officers conducted undercover Internet operations targeting individuals seeking to have sex with minor children. On October 12, 2012, Woods responded to an Internet bulletin board posting, indicating that Woods could teach a 14-year-old “child” about sex. During the ensuing e-mail conversation, Woods confirmed that the child was 14 years old.
During the next two weeks, Woods and the undercover detective, who used the persona of a 14-year old female child, engaged in online conversations by instant messaging and e-mail. During these conversations, Woods indicated his desire to have sex with the child. On October 29, 2012, Woods and the child engaged in an online conversation and discussed a location for their meeting, during which Woods offered to produce videos of the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. That same day, Woods asked if he could “come see [the child]” that weekend.
On October 31, 2012, Woods and the undercover detective arranged to meet in St. Augustine at a motel at a later date. On the evening of November 2, 2012, Woods arrived at the motel in his vehicle. Woods approached the undercover detective, whom he believed was the child’s relative and subsequently asked the detective to have the child come outside. At that point, Woods was arrested.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Volusia County Sheriffs’ Office, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”