Federal jury convicts Columbia County man in “horrific” baby intercourse trafficking case | USAO-SDGA
AUGUSTA, GA: A Columbia County man faces as much as life in federal jail after a jury convicted him on 9 felony counts associated to baby intercourse trafficking.
In a verdict returned simply after 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, a U.S. District Court docket jury discovered Michael Peyton Gunn, 36, of Evans, Ga., responsible of all 9 fees following a four-day trial, stated David H. Estes, Appearing U.S. Legal professional for the Southern District of Georgia. Gunn faces a minimal sentence of 15 years in federal jail, and three of the fees within the case carry a statutory penalty of as much as life in jail. There isn’t a parole within the federal system.
“The kid exploitation offenses Gunn dedicated are completely horrific, going far past the preliminary, reprehensible baby pornography offenses that alerted the FBI to his actions,” stated Appearing U.S. Legal professional Estes. “The jurors are holding Michael Gunn accountable for his monstrous crimes, and offering a path to therapeutic for his sufferer.”
After the trial earlier than U.S. District Court docket Chief Choose J. Randal Corridor, the jury discovered Gunn responsible of Conspiracy to Have interaction in Intercourse Trafficking of a Minor; Intercourse Trafficking of a Youngster; Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Have interaction in Sexual Exercise; 4 counts of Manufacturing of Youngster Pornography; Possession of Youngster Pornography; and Obstruction of a Intercourse-Trafficking Investigation. Gunn can be sentenced after a background investigation by the U.S. Probation Workplace.
“Michael Gunn dedicated unspeakable crimes towards a susceptible baby and no sentence for him will wipe away the trauma he has brought about the sufferer,” stated Chris Macrae, Appearing Particular Agent in Cost of FBI Atlanta. “Nonetheless, due to the devoted work from our brokers who aggressively pursue these heinous criminals, Gunn can be faraway from our streets the place he’ll not have the ability to hurt harmless kids.”
The minor sufferer within the case testified in court docket that Gunn, via rewards, concern, threats of hurt, and intimidation, manipulated the sufferer to take part in unlawful sexual abuse as younger as age 7, via sexual exploitation at age 13, because it steadily progressed from manufacturing of kid pornography to participation in business intercourse trafficking.
As spelled out in proof and testimony introduced through the trial, the investigation led to Gunn in February 2020 when FBI brokers have been referred to as to help in a baby pornography case in Hopkins County, Texas. Brokers found greater than 700 photos – a lot of them express baby pornography – depicting a selected minor sufferer, with digital location data figuring out the realm of Gunn’s residence in Evans. Brokers from the Augusta FBI workplace later questioned Gunn and searched his dwelling, resulting in his indictment in March 2020 on a number of fees of manufacturing and possession of kid pornography.
The persevering with investigation led to a superseding indictment in March 2021 naming Gunn’s then spouse, Amanda Gunn, a/ok/a “Amanda Howard,” 34, of Augusta, on fees of Intercourse Trafficking Conspiracy and Obstruction of a Youngster Intercourse Trafficking Investigation, and including a number of baby intercourse trafficking-related fees to Michael Gunn. Amanda Gunn later pled responsible to Intercourse Trafficking Conspiracy and awaits sentencing. The minor sufferer testified throughout Michael Gunn’s trial that he coordinated a number of years of abuse of the sufferer within the case, deriving revenue from photos of the sufferer and from making the sufferer out there for sexual exploitation by different males.
Additionally testifying in court docket was Jonathan Eugene Grantham, 45, of Graniteville, S.C., who awaits sentencing after pleading responsible in August to Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Have interaction in Sexual Exercise. Grantham admitted responding to an internet commercial trafficking the minor sufferer, then touring from South Carolina to Evans to move the sufferer to a motel for a sexual act in return for fee. Grantham is a former highschool instructor.
The investigation into associated crimes within the case continues.
Anybody with data on suspected baby sexual exploitation can contact the Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Kids at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Legal professional and Venture Secure Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons prosecuted the case for america with help from Paralegal Specialist Tracy Lengthy and Contract Authorized Assistant Ana Pridemore.