Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Kurt Batucan Sheldon (29, Interlachen) has been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with production and possession of child exploitation material. Sheldon faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, and up to 50 years, in federal prison. Sheldon has been detained pending a hearing scheduled for September 10, 2020.
According to the complaint, parents of a minor child made a report to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office about sexually explicit messages being sent by an adult to their daughter on Snapchat and Whisper. The adult referred to himself as “K t.” “K t” was his screen name on Snapchat, but his Snapchat username was “tacticfallout.” “K t” originally began communicating with the child on Whisper and represented himself as a male, between the ages of 25-29. The child told him that she was 15 years old. “K t” told the child that his name was “Kurt” and that he lived in Putnam. The child told “Kurt” she lived with her parents and was in school. Their conversation later moved to Snapchat and “K t” requested child exploitation material—images and videos—from the child and directed the child on how to take the images and how to pose. Approximately 50 images and/or videos were sent to “K t” at his direction.
Further investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations identified Sheldon’s residence as the source of the IP address used by the Snapchat account “tacticfallout,” and the Gmail account associated with this Snapchat account.
On September 4, 2020, HSI agents and deputies and detectives with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Sheldon’s residence. Sheldon admitted there was child sexual abuse material on the computer. He also admitted to asking girls he met on online applications, whom he knew to be underage, to send him nude photographs, including a 15 year-old female.
Any person who was, or knows of someone who may have been, a possible child victim is urged to contact HSI at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or online tip form – http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.
This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington and Kelly Karase.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ 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 sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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