Jacksonville Man, Tadd Andrew Melton Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Use A 9-Year-Old Child To Produce Photos Of Sexual Abuse
(STL.News) United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Tadd Andrew Melton (33, Jacksonville) today pleaded guilty to attempted production of child sex abuse images. Melton faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years, and up to 30 years, in federal prison and a potential lifetime term of supervised release. Melton was arrested on July 23, 2021, and has been detained since his arrest.
According to the plea agreement, on February 2, 2021, a federal agent working in an undercover capacity entered a chat group in an online social media app that featured users with a sexual interest in children. While using a particular chat application, the federal agent assumed the persona of the mother of a 9-year-old female child.
Melton contacted the undercover agent and expressed interest in receiving underwear from the “child,” molesting the “child,” and receiving child sex abuse images of the “child.” Melton detailed what type of child sex abuse images he wanted of the “child.” In addition, he also distributed a child sex abuse image to the undercover agent. Law enforcement was able to identify Melton as the user of the account chatting with the undercover agent based on his account information and investigation into his background.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington. The forfeiture of assets is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Mai Tran.
This is another case 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. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.