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Andy man gets 16-year prison stint for child sex crimes

An Andalusia man was sentenced in federal court Friday to more than 16 years in prison for traveling to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old boy in April.

David Daniel Hicks, Jr., 42, of Andalusia, must serve 200 months in prison for the use of a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, interstate travel for illicit sexual conduct, and production of child pornography, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Hicks was also sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release after his incarceration;  to register as a sex offender; to complete sex offender treatment; to submit to monitoring of any computer or electronic accounts; to avoid unsupervised contact with children; and to inform future employers of his convictions.

Hicks was arrested on April 12, 2013, after traveling from Andalusia to Tallahassee, Fla., to have sex with what he thought was a 14-year-old boy. His arrest was part of a larger undercover investigation conducted by a coalition of law enforcement agencies. Following the arrest, investigators served a search warrant at Hicks’ residence and found tens of thousands of images of child pornography, including five computer videos of Hicks performing sexual acts on an adolescent male. These videos were created in that residence, with a camera that was seized there.

The solicitation and travel charges were indicted in the Northern District of Florida. The production charge was indicted in the Middle District of Alabama, but transferred to the Northern District of Florida for disposition and sentencing. Hicks pleaded guilty to all charges against him and also agreed to forfeit the electronic devices and electronic media that were seized under the search warrant.

In announcing the sentence imposed by the court, United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh credited the success of this prosecution to the joint efforts of the agencies participating in the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, particularly the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Covington County, Alabama Sheriff’s Office.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.