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Richmond County man sentenced by feds for persuading child to produce sexually explicit images

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Tibias Edwards Submitted photo Tibias Edwards

A Richmond County man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to persuading a child to produce sexually explicit images.



Tibius Edwards, 26, of Augusta, was sentenced to 180 months in prison after pleading guilty to Production of Child Pornography, said Jill E. Steinberg, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall also ordered Edwards to register as a sex offender and to serve 20 years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.



There is no parole in the federal system.



"There is an epidemic in this country of adult predators contacting and befriending children online and persuading them to produce sexually explicit images of themselves," said U.S. Attorney Steinberg. "The vigilance of a caring adult rescued the victim from further harm, and this sentence ensures Tibius Edwards will no longer be a danger to the community."



As described in court documents and testimony, FBI agents interviewed Edwards in 2019 after receiving a minor's cell phone from the child's mother. Images discovered on the phone led investigators to Edwards, who had persuaded the minor to produce and provide sexually explicit images and share them with Edwards via an online messaging application.



"The defendants' heinous behavior is deserving of a lengthy prison sentence to ensure he cannot inflict further harm on other victims," said Justin Garrick, Acting Supervisory Senior Resident Agent in FBI Atlanta's Augusta office. "This case shows how important it is that we continue to target and prosecute sexual predators who victimize children."



The case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Jason W. Blanchard.



Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.

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