TYLER, Texas – A 54-year-old McKinney, Texas photographer has pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Todd Fleming pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of children today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.
According to information presented in court, from 1999 to 2007, Fleming coerced minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. Fleming was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 17, 2013 and charged with child exploitation violations.
“This criminal case should serve as a wake-up call to all parents to regularly monitor their children’s friends and Internet behavior, and to educate their children of the potential dangers of online predators,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas. “For years, this school photographer assumed the online identities of many young girls to entice other girls to produce child pornography for him. At the same time, he groomed still other young girls to produce his own child pornography.”
“Thank goodness that Todd Fleming will no longer be able to prey on unsuspecting children,” said U.S. Attorney Bales. “Kudos to the investigative team who successfully brought Fleming to his well-deserved appointment with justice. And I agree with SAC Marwell – the most important takeaway from this case is the need for parental vigilance and communication with their children. For our part, we will continue to have zero tolerance for child pornographers.”
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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Fleming faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Texas Department of Public Safety – Criminal Investigations Division and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.