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Former Mississippi Police Sergeant Gets Decades of Prison Time for Sexually Exploiting a Child

 
Joshua Christopher Stockstill

Joshua Christopher Stockstill

A former Mississippi police sergeant was sentenced to 30 years in prison several months after he agreed to plead guilty to one count of producing a video of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.

A copy of the plea agreement obtained by Law&Crime shows that Joshua Christopher Stockstill, 29, signed the document on Oct. 25, 2021. The agreement hit the court docket on Nov. 30, 2021.

As Law&Crime previously reported, the defendant was busted in July 2021 just hours after the FBI released a photo of him. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) said it “provided critical information” which led to the arrest of Stockstill, who was then known to investigators as “John Doe 44.”

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi said that Stockstill was a sergeant with the Picayune Police Department before he was arrested for enticing a minor to “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct with his cell phone camera in Pearl River County in November of 2018.”

According to the plea agreement, Stockstill admitted to one count of violating 18 USC § 2251(a) and (e), which criminalizes the sexual exploitation of children and requires at least 15 years incarceration and not more than 30 years:

(a) Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or who transports any minor in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, shall be punished as provided under subsection (e), if such person knows or has reason to know that such visual depiction will be transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed, if that visual depiction was produced or transmitted using materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, or if such visual depiction has actually been transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed.

[ . . . ]

(e) Any individual who violates, or attempts or conspires to violate, this section shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 15 years nor more than 30 years, but if such person has one prior conviction under this chapter, section 1591, chapter 71, chapter 109A, or chapter 117, or under section 920 of title 10 (article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or under the laws of any State relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact involving a minor or ward, or sex trafficking of children, or the production, possession, receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment, or transportation of child pornography, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years, but if such person has 2 or more prior convictions under this chapter, chapter 71, chapter 109A, or chapter 117, or under section 920 of title 10 (article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or under the laws of any State relating to the sexual exploitation of children, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 35 years nor more than life. Any organization that violates, or attempts or conspires to violate, this section shall be fined under this title. Whoever, in the course of an offense under this section, engages in conduct that results in the death of a person, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for not less than 30 years or for life.

The court docket says that Stockstill’s sentencing hearing took place on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Taylor B. McNeel, a Donald Trump appointee.

The judge not only sentenced Stockstill to the statutory maximum of 30 years, he also ordered the defendant to serve a lifetime of supervised release. The former sergeant was further ordered to pay a $10,000 assessment under the AVVA (The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018).

At the end of the hearing, Stockstill was handed over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, a minute order said.

Read the plea agreement below:

Aaron Keller contributed to this report.

[image via the FBI]

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Matt Naham is the editor-in-chief of Law&Crime.