STATESBORO, GA: A third guilty plea filed in U.S. District Court this week wraps up an investigation of child pornographers.
Charles Casey Garner, 40, of Brooklet, Ga., pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of Production of Child Pornography, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Previously, Richard Hunt Moore Jr., 48, of Hephzibah, Ga., and Carl Scott Ruger, 40, of Guyton, Ga., each pled guilty to one count of Production of Child Pornography.
The charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and up to 30 years, along with substantial fines, restitution and asset forfeiture. After completion of their federal sentences, each will serve a period of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
A fourth target in the investigation committed suicide in Illinois before questioning.
According to court documents and testimony, the investigation began when Moore was found with a minor at a motel in Augusta. After questioning Moore, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigators and the FBI found child pornography on electronic devices in Moore’s possession.
Garner, Ruger and the fourth target were identified during the subsequent investigation that determined the men had been involved in the exploitation of a juvenile for the production of child pornography.
“The crimes these men committed are gut-wrenching and disgusting,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Our prosecutors and law enforcement partners won’t rest while a single one of these pedophile predators walks the streets. No matter what dark shadows they hide in, we will find them and drag their perverted crimes into the light.”
“The production of child pornography is an assault against the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Special Agent in Charge Chris Hacker of the FBI Atlanta field office. “The FBI is committed to protecting our children and working with our law enforcement partners to identify and apprehend predators who carry out these atrocious crimes.”
The cases were investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, along with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara Lyons and Marcela C. Mateo.