ALBANY, Ga. – A south Georgia resident who admitted to producing child sexual assault material (CSAM) involving minor victims was sentenced to the statutory maximum prison term for his crimes.
Jonathan G. Hardin, 38, of Enigma, Georgia, was sentenced to serve a total of 720 months in prison (360 months for each count) by U.S. District Judge Louis Sands on March 2, after he pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child sexual assault material. In addition, Hardin will have to register as a sex offender for life upon his release from federal prison. There is no parole.
“Producing child sexual assault material is a heinous offense and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “To that end, our office will pursue the maximum punishment allowed under law for those caught producing child sexual assault material.”
“Finding, arresting and prosecuting the predators that are creating, viewing and sharing these disturbing images of abuse is one of the most important things we can do to protect the children in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Working together with our great law enforcement and community partners makes the fight to hold accountable those who exploit our children easier and more impactful.”
The plea agreement in this case remains sealed for the protection of the minor victims.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov<h
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
Criminal Chief Leah McEwen prosecuted the case.