Elmira Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography
ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Shannon T. Lewis, 41 of Elmira, NY, pleaded guilty to producing child pornography before U.S. District Court Judge Charles J. Siragusa. The charge carries a mandatory minimum 15 years and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that Lewis was first identified during a sexual assault investigation being conducted by the Elmira Police Department. Police learned that the defendant harbored at risk minors who ran away from a nearby juvenile facility. While in his custody, Lewis gave the minors drugs including bath salts. Investigators learned that the defendant and another adult raped one of the minors, a 16 year old girl and that Lewis videotaped the rape. Police then contacted the Corning Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance.
During the investigation, several homemade sexually explicit videos of the child were found on the defendant’s computer. The videos showed Lewis hiding the camera in his room before bringing the child in and raping her. The defendant was also seen giving the child victim bath salts before, during, and after the rape.
Lewis was convicted of Rape in Chemung County and is presently serving a sentence of two and a half years in State Prison for that offense. Following today’s plea, the defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending his federal sentencing.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Corning Resident Office, and members of the Elmira Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Robertson.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 27, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Siragusa.