Hawthorne man sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for production of child pornography

Press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Michael Lee Finn, Jr., 35, of Hawthorne, Florida, was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison after pleading guilty on June 14, 2022, to production of child pornography. Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the sentence.

“This sentence is yet another example of the unwavering commitment to the protection of our most vulnerable and should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would attempt to harm them,” said U.S. Attorney Coody. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to investigate and vigorously prosecute those who prey upon our children.”

Court documents reflect that on October 17, 2021, law enforcement officers were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at a residence in Gainesville, Florida. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the complainant, who advised she had been in a lengthy relationship with Michael Lee Finn, Jr. The complainant borrowed Finn’s cell phone, and while reviewing images stored on the phone observed numerous pornographic images of adults. She also located videos that appeared to depict a minor child victim laying partially naked on a couch as well as naked in the shower. It did not appear that the child victim was aware she was being videorecorded. The complainant confronted Finn about the videos, and an argument commenced during which Finn left the residence. Officers canvassed the area and located Finn, then advised him of his Miranda rights. Finn admitted to taking the photos and videos of the child victim without her knowledge. He further stated the pictures “might have been for personal gratification.” Finn was arrested on state charges for possession of child pornography. A state search warrant was obtained for the contents of the cell phone. In the “Hidden” Folder, there were several videos of the child victim that focus on her nude body and genitalia. Further investigation determined that the child victim was unaware that the images had been created.

“Parents must remain ever-vigilant, even in the confines of their own homes, as predators use technology to secretly exploit and victimize children,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “We are in the throes of a societal epidemic with regard to the sexual exploitation of children. Thanks to partners like the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to put a stop to this deviant’s behavior.”

Finn’s prison sentence will be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender and will be subject to sex offender conditions.

This conviction was the result of a collaborative investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Frank Williams prosecuted the case.

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