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Indictments handed down against 2 Jacksonville men with child sex-abuse images and 3rd pleads guilty

Harlon Prater pleaded guilty to two counts of producing images showing sexual abuse of children and another of transporting them faces 15 to 80 years in prison.
Credit: Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Federal indictments have been handed down against two Jacksonville men in separate cases of distributing or producing images of sexual abuse against children, according to the U.S. Attorney‘s Office.

Additionally a third man faces sentencing after pleading guilty to producing such images, prosecutors said.

Columbus Donavan Jeffrey, 41, was indicted Friday on two counts of producing images depicting the sexual abuse of a child.

Jeffrey was arrested Oct. 3 by the Jacksonville Sheriff‘s Office on three counts of sexual battery of a minor, as well as four more of producing a sexual performance of a minor. He also was charged with four counts of possession of child pornography and one charge of sexual intercourse without disclosing HIV, and remains behind bars on $625,000 bail, jail records show.

Federal court documents state that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received two reports in May from a company administering an online social messaging application of someone with username “hideme1977” uploading and distributing child sex abuse images via that application. Further investigation traced them to Jeffrey‘s home.

A search warrant was served on the home, and Jeffrey identified himself and a child in one of the photos that had been uploaded to the app, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The Sheriff‘s Office was able to locate the child.

The second indictment was handed down against 22-year-old Reece Christopher Depew, accused of distributing sexual-abuse images of young children.

Court documents state an online user named “Android 18” had uploaded and distributed child sex abuse images to a social media chat platform, the U.S. Attorney‘s Office said. Further investigation led to a home where Depew lived, and the FBI served a search warrant there that ended in his arrest.

Finally, 28-year-old Harlon David Prater pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of producing images depicting sexual abuse of children and one more of transporting those photos, the U.S. Attorney‘s Office said.

Authorities received reports that a social network user was sharing images of child sex abuse and determined they had been created in Duval County, according to court documents. The Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at Prater’s home, where his cellphone had images of him sexually abusing babies and children. The cellphone contained about 900 images and 50 videos of child sexual abuse.

Prater faces 15 to 80 years in federal prison when he is sentenced May 4, the U.S. Attorney‘s Office said.

Read the original version of this story from our news partners, the Florida Times-Union.