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Iowa man sentenced to 27 years in prison for producing child porn

Michael E. Shell, 52, of Melrose, Iowa, was sentenced to 27 years in prison on December 21, 2021, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for producing child pornography.

Shell must also register as a sex offender upon release.

At the sentencing hearing, authorities presented evidence that Shell sexually abused a minor victim for about five years – when the victim was between 9 and 14 years old. Shell photographed and videoed the abuse that occurred while the victim lived in Illinois’ Central District.

Photos from a search warrant of Shell’s residence in Iowa show a child-sized sex doll and school photos of the young victim on Shell’s refrigerator. Law enforcement also seized multiple devices containing dozens of photos and videos of the abuse. The evidence presented in court included testimony that the abuse happened hundreds of times and only ended when the young victim asked the abuse to stop at the age of 14.

A statement prepared by the young victim was read in court, describing how damaging Shell manipulation and abuse was.

Also at the sentencing hearing, US Senior Judge Michael Mihm found Shell intentionally grooming the young victim and questioned whether he really regretted it.

The judge noted the difference between letters of support for Shell written by family and friends and the behavior in question: the long and deliberate sexual abuse of the victim. The judge found that the victim had suffered irreparable harm from the abuse, both psychologically and physically.

Shell was indicted in May 2019 and pleaded guilty in April 2021.

The statutory penalty for producing child pornography is between 15 years in prison and 30 years in prison; the maximum lifetime of a supervised release; fines of up to 250,000 dollars; and replacement, if required.

“This case demonstrates our tireless and active pursuit of justice on behalf of young victims,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris. “Predators who groom and sexually exploit the most vulnerable in our communities will be investigated and prosecuted, just like Shell.”

The United States Secret Service investigated the incident, with direct assistance from the Canton Police Department and the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine G. Legge and Paul B. Morris represented the government in the prosecution.

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https://www.tampafp.com/iowa-man-gets-27-years-in-prison-for-production-of-child-porn/ Iowa man sentenced to 27 years in prison for producing child porn

DUSTIN JONES

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