The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida issued the following press release on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.
Jacksonville, Florida – Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Kurt Batucan Sheldon (31, Interlachen) to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for production and distribution of child sex abuse images. Sheldon was also ordered to serve a life-term of supervised release and register as a sex offender. In addition, the court ordered $13,000 in restitution for the victims of Sheldon’s offenses. Sheldon was arrested on September 4, 2020, and ordered detained during the proceedings in the case. He had pleaded guilty on February 17, 2022.
According to court documents, this case was initiated when parents of a minor female child made a report to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office about sexually explicit messages being sent by an adult to their child on two different social media applications. The adult referred to himself as “K t,” and used the username “tacticfallout.” “K t” originally began communicating with the minor child on a social media application and represented himself as a male, between 25-29 years of age. The minor child told him that she was 15 years old. “K t” told the minor child that his name was “Kurt” and that he lived in Putnam. The child told “Kurt” she lived with her parents and was in school. Their conversation later moved to another social media platform, over which “K t” requested child sex abuse material—images and videos—from the minor child and directed the child on how to take the images and how to pose. Approximately 50 images and/or videos were sent to “K t” at his direction.
Further investigation by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations identified Sheldon’s residence as the source of the IP address used by the account, “tacticfallout,” and for other associated accounts.
On September 4, 2020, HSI agents and deputies and detectives from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Sheldon’s residence. Sheldon admitted there would be child sexual abuse material on his electronic devices and that he was attracted to children. He also admitted to asking girls he met via online applications, who he knew to be underage, to send him nude photographs, including a 15-year-old female. Forensic examination of his devices identified more than a thousand images and several hundred videos depicting child sex abuse.
During the same investigation, HSI also learned of a 2016 St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office investigation involving Sheldon’s IP address and residential address engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing of child sex abuse materials. Law enforcement accessed and downloaded files that contained child sex abuse materials that were later connected to Sheldon. Sheldon also admitted his involvement in this conduct.
“Men who use the anonymity of the internet to prey on the vulnerability and innocence of children are a special kind of evil,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Through our partnerships with the Clay County, Putnam County and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Offices, we will remain vigilant in targeting these dark web predators, bringing them to justice to face their crimes.”
This case was investigated by Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.
It 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, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.