Florida man sentenced in sexual exploitation case investigated by Clay County Sheriff’s Office

Don Johnson

Dawson Ladale Crews, 24, of Lawtey has been sentenced to 17 years and 6 months in federal prison for enticing a minor to engage in conduct to produce sexually explicit photos.

The court also ordered Crews to serve a 10-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. Crews had pleaded guilty on March 8, 2022, and has been detained since his arrest on June 7, 2021.

According to court documents, in July 2020, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) received information that a purported “16-year-old” male offered a 12-year-old victim money in exchange for nude pictures and sexual acts.

CCSO responded and interviewed the victim and the reporting party. CCSO learned that the victim met the man, later determined to be Crews, on a social media platform. Crews falsely told the victim that he was 16 years old and requested nude pictures of the victim, which she sent. Crews later requested additional photographs and threatened to post the pictures she had already sent if she did not comply and send more. Crews also offered her money for sex, according to court documents.

CCSO and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) interviewed Crews at the Bradford County Jail, where he was detained on a separate charge of unlawful use of a communication device and transmission of harmful material to a minor.

During the interview, Crews acknowledged having communicated with the victim and said he is “more into underage girls than [girls his] own age.” He admitted being sexually attracted to 14–16-year-old girls and acknowledged that he offered the victim money for nude images of herself.

Agents searched Crews’s phones, which revealed sexually explicit images of the victim along with sexually explicit videos and images of another 16-year-old minor victim, who Crews had solicited over the same social media app.

Crews used alias names to communicate with underage girls to threaten them and coerce them to send him sexually explicit photos.

“With the popularity of today’s social media applications, savvy and dangerous online predators are often able to entice impressionable children into a false sense of security,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “This sentence is an unwavering example of how HSI and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office are committed to stop these deviant child molesters and hold them accountable.”

This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly S. Karase.

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.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Florida man sentenced in sexual exploitation case.Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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Veteran journalist with experience in website and newspaper content as an editor and writer. I have worked as a reporter at newspapers and websites in Florida, California and Arkansas. I am a former executive editor at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and worked for 12 years at The Tampa Tribune as an enterprise editor and business editor. At Patch.com, I produced stories for 24 websites in the Tampa Bay area and also edited content for websites in six states.

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