Orlando, FL – U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza has sentenced Jeffery Stephen Heck, Jr. (28, Titusville) to 20 years in federal prison for distributing child sexual abuse material. Heck was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release, register as a sex offender, and forfeit his smartphone.
Heck had pleaded guilty on April 21, 2021.
According to court documents, a law enforcement officer acting in an undercover capacity on a popular social media application (app) identified Heck as a member of a group on this app, which group is dedicated to the sharing of child sexual abuse material. On January 22, 2020, Heck distributed and posted a video depicting the sexual abuse of a child to that same group on the app.
On July 13, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Heck’s residence in South Carolina, where he had since relocated. Law enforcement seized his cellphone which contained approximately 116 images and one video depicting children being sexually abused. Additionally, law enforcement discovered a text message thread on his phone in which Heck had solicited nude photos from, and sent a nude photo to, an individual that Heck believed to be 15 years old.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Harrington.
This is another case 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.justice.gov/psc.
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