An Augusta man is facing a maximum life imprisonment after pleading guilty to coercion and enticement of two Columbus minors today, said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Todd Matthew Jones, 27, of Augusta, Georgia pleaded guilty to two counts of coercion and enticement of a minor before U.S. District Judge Clay Land. Each count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison up to a maximum of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and a term of supervised release of not less than five years up to lifetime supervision. Jones will be sentenced on February 24, 2021 at noon. There is no parole in the federal system.
According to the plea agreement, Jones, pretending to be a teenager, met a 13-year-old middle school male, “John Doe,” on the social media app Snapchat. Jones proceeded to send the victim sexually explicit photos of himself and encouraged John Doe to do the same, which he did. Following a series of additional Snapchat conversations, the defendant traveled to Columbus to meet John Doe. The victim told investigators he was hoping Jones would purchase a vaping kit for him, but instead sexually abused him. John Doe’s mother discovered the relationship and Jones was taken into custody on December 1, 2018. John Doe told investigators that the defendant told him he sold “boy porn” online. During the investigation, agents found a second victim, a 16-year-old female minor, “Jane Doe,” who also said she met the defendant on Snapchat and would sneak out of her home to meet the defendant. The female victim was encouraged to, and did, send sexually explicit photos of herself to the defendant.
“Jones is a manipulative child predator who has gravely harmed vulnerable youth. He will face the consequences for his crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Peeler. “I hope this case reinforces the importance for all parents to remain vigilant about the dangers on social media, and how quickly and easily young people can be tricked and enticed into an abusive, destructive relationship. I encourage all citizens to report suspicious online activity to the authorities. I want to thank the Columbus Police Department and the FBI for their work in this case.”
“The facts of this case are disturbing and demonstrate how a sexual predator can easily use social media apps to victimize innocent children,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will always make it a top priority to hold child predators accountable for their heinous crimes and educate the community about the dangers of communicating with strangers on the internet.”