Indiana singer charged with sexually exploiting minor

A jury has convicted a man of 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography.

44-year-old Shawn Shannon, a traveling gospel singer from Muncie, was convicted Wednesday after a three-day trial.

The government presented evidence which alleges that from February 1st to March 1st, Shannon lured a 13-year-old boy to a hotel in Decatur, Illinois, and directed him to pose for a series of sexually explicit photos. Shannon also engaged in sexual contact with another minor boy and took similar photos, according to trial evidence.

The indictment resulted in an investigation by the Decatur Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations.

Shannon was previously charged in a criminal complaint and arrested on April 15, 2015 in Muncie. After going to court on April 20th, he was ordered to remain detained in U.S. Marshals Service custody pending trial. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2017.  

If convicted, the statutory penalty for sexually exploiting a minor is 15 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, click here.

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