Sexual Predator Pleads Guilty To Receipt Of Child Sex Abuse Images | USAO-MDFL

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Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Dennis William Sheffield, Jr. (52, Keystone Heights) has pleaded guilty to receipt of child sex abuse images. Sheffield faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years, up to 40 years, in federal prison. He has agreed to pay restitution to the victims of his offenses and he also faces a potential life term of supervised release. The court previously ordered Sheffield detained pending the completed proceedings in this case. 

According to the plea agreement, in February 2022, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began investigating Sheffield as part of its investigation into a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The CyberTip indicated child sex abuse images had been uploaded to a search engine. An Internet Protocol (IP) address for the individual who had uploaded the materials was traced to Sheffield. Law enforcement learned that Sheffield was listed as a predator on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Sexual Offenders and Predators registry as a result of two prior convictions (1996) for attempted sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.

On March 3, 2022, based on the CyberTip and the identification of Sheffield as the subject of the CyberTip, law enforcement obtained a federal search warrant for Sheffield’s residence. The following day, law enforcement executed the search warrant and encountered Sheffield, who was holding a cellphone in his hand. A preliminary examination of the phone revealed multiple files depicting the sexual abuse of children on the phone. Sheffield admitted to law enforcement that he had a problem and that he liked looking at child sex abuse images, which he admitted to having viewed as recently as a couple of days earlier. Sheffield also admitted to saving some of the images on his phone.

This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington. The forfeiture is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Mai Tran.

This is another case 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.  



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