A Liberty County woman’s federal trial in Statesboro U.S. District Court on child exploitation charges ended early when she entered a guilty plea before the case went to the jury.
Sharon Elizabeth Keegan, 30, of Midway, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to 30 years, after pleading guilty to production of child pornography, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Her husband, John Paul Joseph Keegan, 31, of Midway, also faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, up to 30 years, after previously pleading guilty to production of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
The pleas also subject the defendants to statutory penalties including substantial fines and restitution, registration as sex offenders, and a period of supervised release after completion of their prison terms.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Our law enforcement partners did outstanding work in building this investigation to hold these reprehensible predators accountable,” Estes said. “Our office will be relentless in pursuing those who would victimize our most vulnerable citizens.”
Sharon Keegan was in the third day of trial in the Prince H. Preston Federal Building in Statesboro, when she agreed to change her plea on the charge to guilty as the defense had begun presenting their case. John-Paul Keegan pled guilty in May 2021.
Keegan and her husband were indicted in May 2020 after an investigation launched through a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to Homeland Security Investigations.
Agents from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation searched the Midway mobile home where the Keegans resided, seizing electronic devices found to contain images and videos of child sexual exploitation that each of the two had produced and shared over the internet.
“The GBI will continue to work tirelessly to protect innocent victims of online exploitation,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds. “We are grateful for the partnerships we maintain with our local and federal agencies to bring these predators to justice.”
This investigation took place under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, and was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.