Criminal Justice News

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Former Pastor and Counselor Sentenced to 17 years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children


A former pastor and counselor from Burtchville, Michigan (just outside Port Huron) was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison for sexually exploiting preteen and teenage girls, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan.  

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Sentenced was Jackie Douglas Woodburn, 64, who was the Director of the Colonial Woods Christian Counseling Center, a place he worked for 28 years.  In addition to his prison sentence, Woodburn will serve 5 years of supervised release upon his release from custody.  Judge Paul D. Borman imposed the sentence. 

According to court records, Woodburn used an unmonitored chatroom-based website to target and manipulate girls.  Woodburn, who pretended to be a teenage boy when speaking to preteen and teenage girls on the website, isolated his victims by transitioning conversations from the website to email and popular social media application platforms.  After isolating the victims, Woodburn used his sizable age, educational, and life experience advantages over the girls to manipulate, pressure, coerce, and entice the girls into undressing and engaging in sexual acts on camera.  The Indictment alleged that Woodburn sexually exploited a 12 year-old girl from Texas, a 13 year-old girl from Kansas, and attempted to entice a 9 year-old girl from Virginia.  However, the FBI’s investigation revealed that Woodburn targeted and exploited several additional victims not identified in the Indictment.

“It’s completely reprehensible for any person — let alone a pastor and counselor — to abuse young children in this way,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “We hope this sentencing will bring some closure to the innocent victims and their families who were so badly harmed by the defendant.”

"By the nature of his position, Mr. Woodburn was entrusted with protecting the mental and spiritual health of his community," said SAC D'Antuono. "But he was a wolf in sheep's clothing - looking to prey on the most vulnerable members of our society. Our office remains committed to working with our state and local partners to find and hold accountable this type of sexual predator."

Assistant United States Attorneys April N. Russo and Kevin M. Mulcahy of the Eastern District of Michigan, prosecuted the case.  The FBI’s Detroit Field Office investigated the case.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.

Crack Cocaine "Broker" Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison


PROVIDENCE – A former Woonsocket man, one of more than a dozen people arrested in July 2019 as the result of a four-month FBI Safe Streets Task Force Project Safe Neighborhoods investigation into the trafficking of fentanyl, cocaine, and crack cocaine on the streets of Woonsocket, was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for brokering sales of crack cocaine.

In October 2019, Christian Nieves, 34, admitted to the Court that in April 2019, he arranged on multiple occasions for an individual to purchase a total of 34.18 grams of crack cocaine from David Kennedy, 29, formerly of Woonsocket. Nieves was present for each transaction and was paid a fee for his efforts.

Nieves pleaded guilty on October 1, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base.

At sentencing today, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., sentenced Nieves to 60 months imprisonment to be followed by 4 years supervised release, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta, and Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas Oates.

David Kennedy pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on October 1, 2019, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 20, 2020.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and Christine D. Lowell.

Project Safe Neighborhoods is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Waldorf Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Production of Child Pornography


Images and Videos Document the Sexual Abuse of Two Minor Victims

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Christopher Crawford, age 40, of Waldorf, Maryland to 20 years in federal prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for production of child pornography.  The sentence was imposed on January 15, 2020.  Judge Grimm also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Crawford must continue to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, on January 5, 2018, Crawford agreed to a search of his cellular phone as part of an investigation by the Prince George’s County Police Department, revealing videos and images of two minor female victims engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and documenting Crawford’s sexual abuse of the victims.

On February 15, 2018, search warrants were executed on Crawford’s residence and a vehicle.  Law enforcement recovered electronic media and devices that contained files depicting the victims engaged in sex acts or simulated sex acts with Crawford, and other sexually explicit images.

This 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 Attorney’s 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.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.      

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph R. Baldwin and Jessica C. Collins, who prosecuted the federal case.