PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – 28-year-old Donyel James Fitts of Sneads, Florida, was sentenced Wednesday, August 21st in federal court to serve forty-five years in prison for producing child pornography.
Fitts was sentenced for conduct in June and October 2012. On June 21, 2012, Fitts persuaded and coerced a 4-year-old child to engage in sexually explicit conduct, so that he could photograph the minor. On two occasions in October 2012, he videotaped the 4-year-old child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Fitts faced a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years in prison on each of three counts, and U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak ran the sentences consecutively to one another for a total of forty-five years imprisonment, and a life term of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh said, “Our prosecutors and law enforcement professionals will continue to actively investigate and charge offenders who target our children by photographing and videotaping such despicable acts.”
“This case exemplifies the important role local and federal law enforcement partnerships play in putting child predators behind bars,” said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. “Let this sentence serve as a warning to other predators. We will find you, arrest you and ensure that you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This case was investigated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gayle Littleton. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by 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 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.