Multiple child exploitation sentences in less than a month

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A Rankin County man is going to prison, making this the fourth child exploitation prosecution in less than a month.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch says this case originated after investigators gathered intelligence of an internet user seeking files on the dark web known to be associated with child exploitation images. Using cybercrime investigation techniques, investigators sought a warrant to inspect any devices located at the defendant’s address. After the execution of the search warrant, child exploitation images were located on the hard drive of a computer that belonged to 62-year-old Vernon Williams of Rankin County.  

Williams pled guilty to one count of child exploitation and was sentenced on Monday, August 31st to 30 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, serving 10 years with the remaining time suspended. He will be subject to 5 years post-release supervision.

Williams was also ordered to pay a $1,000 assessment to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and all court costs.  He must register as a sex offender and will be required to serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole.

“My office will not stop until every perpetrator of child exploitation is held accountable,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “I am grateful we were able to secure justice, and I thank the court for its decision in this case.”

At the end of August, two men from Forrest County and one from Lowndes County were also sentenced on child exploitation charges.  All cases were prosecuted by the Cyber Crime and Public Integrity Divisions of the Attorney General’s Office.

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