Criminal Justice News

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Indiana Gospel Singer Found Guilty of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Distribution of Child Pornography



A jury has convicted a Muncie, Indiana, man of 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jim Lewis of the Central District of Illinois.

Shawn Shannon, 44, a traveling gospel singer, was convicted yesterday after a three-day trial.

The government presented evidence that Shannon lured a 13-year-old boy to a hotel in Decatur, Illinois, and directed him to pose for a series of sexually explicit photos.  Shannon also engaged in sexual contact with another minor boy and took similar photos, according to trial evidence.

Shannon was arrested on April 15, 2015, and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 9, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District of Illinois. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Decatur Police Department investigated the case.  Trial Attorneys Maureen C. Cain and Elly M. Peirson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) prosecuted 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

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