Crime

Bradenton man pleads guilty to creating, posting video of child’s rape to dark web

Recognizing signs of physical child abuse

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.
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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.

A Bradenton man pleaded guilty to charges of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

James Lockhart, 31, a former paramedic for a private ambulance company, produced a series of videos between March 2016 and February 2018 in which he recorded himself having sex with a then 1-year-old who was known to him, as well as other sex abuse videos and multiple images of the child, according to the plea agreement.

The video also had signs of a dark web forum’s name and his online aliases “StrangeWood” and “HardWood,” which prosecutors say was done to gain notoriety. He used a computer to post the videos, which were several minutes long, to the dark web forum, according to the plea agreement.

He also wrote on the site, according to the plea agreement, that more videos would be posted and took suggestions.

Lockhart was arrested Oct. 5, 2018, after Homeland Security agents searched his home in Bradenton and found the images on his computer.

Investigators seized devices that had 43 videos and at least 4,000 photos of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Lockhart had other porn that did not involve the 1-year-old, but did include other children, including infants, and violent conduct.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

Lockhart faces up to 70 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

Lockhart was terminated from his paramedic job with Paramedics Logistics Florida. Paramedics Logistics Florida is the parent company of Sunstar Paramedics, a Pinellas County private ambulance company.

When Lockhart was hired in 2012, he had been cleared of any criminal history after a background check.

The case, which was part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. They were assisted by Austrailia’s Queensland Police Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray will be the prosecutor on the case.

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