ATHENS-- Timothy Brian Burnette was sentenced today to 51 months in federal prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, for his involvement in recording minors with a cell phone, announced United States Attorney Charles E. Peeler. There is no parole in the federal system, and Mr. Burnette will also be required to register as a sex offender. The sentence for Attempted Possession of Child Pornography was handed down by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, U.S. District Judge.
In his plea agreement, Mr. Burnette, age 41, of Union Point, Georgia, admitted that while working as a custodian at Oconee County High School, he repeatedly used a cell phone to record video of minor students while they were changing in the locker room. Furthermore, a search warrant executed on Mr. Burnette’s cell phone revealed numerous photographs, internet searches and tabs that were pornographic in nature, including searches related to high school girls engaged in sexual activity and locker room pornography videos.
“Every child deserves a safe, secure place to attend school,” said Charles E. Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Mr. Burnette not only violated the sacredness of the school environment, but caused irreparable harm to the minors he filmed and their families. We will not tolerate crimes against children. I want to applaud the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for working quickly to put an end to this predatory behavior and protecting young people.”
“This sends a strong message that this type of recording and behavior won’t be tolerated,” said Sheriff Scott R. Berry, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mr. Burnette’s actions are disturbing and unacceptable,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office. “This sentence removes a dangerous child predator from our community who was preying on the most vulnerable in our society, children.”
This case was investigated by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation provided additional assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary prosecuted the case for the Government.
Questions concerning this case can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.