(STL.News) – Two women have received hefty federal prison sentences for producing and distributing child pornography.
Melanie Smith, a/k/a “Melanie Small,” 30, of Rincon, Ga., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Stan Baker to 360 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution after pleading guilty to Production of Child Pornography, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. A co-defendant, Holly Clayton, 34, of Port Wentworth, Ga., was sentenced to 144 months in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography.
The defendants’ federal incarceration will be consecutive to any sentence they receive for pending state charges of child molestation. In addition, Smith must serve 20 years of supervised release after completion of her 30-year federal prison sentence, and Clayton must serve 15 years of supervised release after completion of her sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The prison time meted out to these defendants will protect our community for decades, though it pales in comparison to the lifetime of pain these vulnerable victims likely will endure,” said U.S. Attorney Christine.
According to court documents and testimony, Smith produced sexually explicit photos of minor children, and Clayton distributed images and videos of child pornography to others. Related charges against a third defendant are pending.
“These predators have stolen the innocence of these children, forcing them to be re-victimized every time those horrific images are viewed,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI Atlanta will continue to prioritize our investigations and work with our partners to protect our youth.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Savannah Police Department and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela C. Mateo and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Semales.