Highland Resident Sentenced for Transportation and Possession of Visual Depictions of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct
A Highland, Illinois, resident was sentenced on September 4, 2014, to a two-count Indictment, charging him, in Count 1, with Transportation of Visual Depictions of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct; and, in Count 2, with Possession of Visual Depictions of Minors Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct; the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Daniel C. Shaw, a/k/a “Josh Shackfer,” 39, Highland, Il, was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 72 months on each count, to run concurrently; a term of supervised release of 10 years on each count, also to run concurrently; fined $250 on each count, for a total fine of $500; and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment. Shaw was taken into custody by the USMS immediately after the hearing ended.
The investigation began on September 23, 2012, when the mother of a fifteen (15) year old minor contacted the Citrus County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, and reported that a man sent her daughter pictures of a penis, and that she found sexually explicit texts between the man and her daughter. When interviewed, the daughter admitted that her conversations with the man, who she knew as “Josh Shackfer,” were sexual, and that she had told him her age. Despite numerous texts from the mother to the man telling him to stop communicating with her daughter, which the man ignored, the mother reported the incident to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
The subsequent Florida investigation revealed that, from on or about July 30, 2010, until January 12, 2011, Defendant Daniel C. Shaw, posed as a 16 year old boy named “Josh Shackfer,” and made contact with several minor females in Florida using MySpace. Shaw was 35 years old at the time, and lived in Highland, Illinois. The investigation also revealed that Shaw, using a fake MySpace page for “Josh Shackfer,” engaged in sexually explicit conversations with several minor females, either through text messaging, instant messaging, or telephone calls, knowing that these girls were minors. He also asked some of these minor females to send him photographs of them naked and/or of their naked genitalia. Several females did so, including M.P., who sent close-up photographs of her naked genitalia. The pictures of M.P., which were clearly visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, were found on Shaw’s MySpace e-mail account. After being shown the pictures by a Highland, Illinois, Police Officer, Shaw identified the pictures of M.P. by initialing each of them, and indicated that he knew M.P. was either 16 or 17. (Count 2).
In a voluntary statement to a Highland, Illinois, Police Detective, Shaw admitted communicating with the minor females in Florida using a fake MySpace page under the name of “Josh Shackfer,” in which he identified himself as an 18 year old, and that he used images found on the Internet of a younger male and portions of a male body on this MySpace page. He also admitted engaging in sexually explicit conversations with these underage girls, and trading pictures with them. Shaw saved the pictures sent to him from the minor females, including the sexually explicit pictures, on his Yahoo e-mail account. Shaw said that he had been engaged in this activity for approximately six (6) months, and that he knew the girls he communicated with in Florida were between 14 and 17 years of age. The pictures that were downloaded also demonstrated that Shaw had transferred the visual depictions of the minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from one e-mail account to another via the Internet (Count 1).
Shaw also provided a voluntary statement to members of the FBI’s Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force in which he again admitted creating the fake “Josh Shackfer” MySpace page to communicate with underage girls, and ask them to send pictures of themselves, including pictures of their breasts, buttocks and genitalia. Shaw said that M.P. sent him between five (5) and seven (7) pictures of her breasts, buttocks, and other “body poses,” and again acknowledged that he knew M.P. was a minor at the time he requested the pictures of her naked genitalia.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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.”
The case was investigated by the Citrus County, Florida, Sheriff’s Department, the Highland, Illinois, Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force (SCETF). The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.