FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Berea, Ky., man, Bradley Scott Helton, 33, was sentenced on Thursday to 214 months in federal prison, by U.S. District Judge Gregory VanTatenhove, for using a minor to produce child pornography.
According to Helton’s plea agreement, on May 16, 2020, he communicated with a 7-year-old victim, via an app called “Kiss Kiss: Spin the Bottle.” Helton admitted to chatting with the victim, sending the victim sexual videos and pictures, and requesting the victim send sexual videos in return. Helton admitted that he persuaded and used the 7-year-old victim to engage in sexually explicit conduct, for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct. He further admitted that the images traveled in interstate commerce when the victim, who was in Texas, sent them to him, in Kentucky, via the app.
Helton pleaded guilty in March 2021.
Under federal law, Helton must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 25 years, following his release from prison.
Carlton S. Shier, IV, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Jerry Templet, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations; and Colonel Phillip Burnett, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, announced the sentence.
The investigation was conducted by DHS-HSI and the KSP. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Roth.
This case was prosecuted 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 U.S. 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.
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