Edgewood man sentenced to 31 years for producing child pornography

The Aegis

An Edgewood man was sentenced last week to serve more than 30 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of children in connection with the production of sexually explicit images of minors, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland announced.

Brian Shumate, 50, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar to 31 years followed by a lifetime of supervised release, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography in March 2017, according to court records.

According to court documents, Shumate used online sites between 2013 and 2015 to find and communicate with minors as young as 13.

Shumate initiated sexually explicit communication with the female victims and sent images of his genitals to them. He then pressured the victims to take photographs of themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to the news release.

Shumate would misrepresent himself online and would initially pretend to be a teenage boy, according to a statement of facts entered with Shumate’s plea agreement. In some instances, after corresponding with his victims for a time, Shumate would disclose his real age and threaten the victims and their families, unless the victims continued to send him content, prosecutors said.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the case against Shumate was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Shumate had a history of involvement with sexual solicitation of minors, according to federal court records and court records in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He had Harford County addresses listed in Edgewood, Aberdeen and Pylesville, according to court records.

According to the statement of facts in the federal case, he engaged in his illegal conduct, “while on parole for a sex offense conviction in Pennsylvania and while avoiding the requirement to register as a sex offender.”

After being convicted for traveling to Pennsylvania in 2004 to have sex with a 12-year-old female whom he asked to call him “daddy,” Shumate served a seven-year prison sentence, federal prosecutors said.

He also received 10 years of supervised probation, according to court records in Harford County, where his probation was later transferred, and was required to register as a Tier III sex offender. Tier III offenders are required to register every three months in the jurisdiction where they reside, according to federal law.

Upon his release in 2012, Shumate violated his parole on three separate occasions, according to prosecutors, and was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender.

He was arrested in Harford County on May 22, 2014 on charges he had failed to re-register as a sex offender in February 2014, according to court records in Harford County from that arrest, which was reported by The Aegis.

Shumate was convicted on June 17, 2014 of failing to register as a sex offender, in Harford County District Court, according to online court records. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to three years in prison, with all but two months suspended.

In June 2014, while in the Harford County Detention Center, Shumate called an acquaintance who informed him the FBI was asking about his phone and social network accounts, including email and Facebook, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The acquaintance also told Shumate the FBI wanted access to Shumate’s phone and tablet. Shumate instructed the acquaintance to delete specific numbers and images from the phone (the numbers and images were all females) and to wipe the phone of all content, according to the release.

According to the statement of facts in the federal case against Shumate, in March 2015, he began communicating on a teen chat website with a 15-year-old female. The two exchanged phone numbers and began communicating by text and email, prosecutors said.

Shumate “initiated sexual conversations” with the girl and asked her to produce explicit images of herself and send them to Shumate, according to the statement of facts. She took three images and sent them on April 8, May 9 and May 12, 2015.

On May 19, 2015, Shumate was arrested in Edgewood on a Pennsylvania warrant for violations of parole, according to the statement of facts.

Shumate’s phone was seized at the time of that arrest, and the three images of the 15-year-old were found, along with several others of her, according to the statement of facts. Also recovered were exchanges of text between the girl and Shumate.

Shumate was indicted federally for failing to register as a sex offender in May 2015. A superseding indictment was filed on May 3, 2016, charging him with three counts of production of child pornography, according to federal court records.

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