“I commend HSI, the Franklin Police Department, and the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office for their outstanding work in this case,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett. “As a result of their efforts, our children are safer, and a dangerous individual will now spend the next 15 years in prison followed by a life term of federal supervision.”
“Our HSI agents are committed to protecting children from exploitation by predators involved with the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material,” said HSI Nashville Special Agent in Charge Jerry C. Templet, Jr. “The result of this investigation shows that perpetrators of these heinous crimes will be punished with lengthy prison sentences for their actions.”
According to the Plea Agreement and other Court documents in the case, Lawrence was previously convicted in September 2000 in the Warren Circuit Court of Attempted Rape in the First Degree of a three-year old child and was released from incarceration on that offense in November 2010. Law enforcement became aware of Lawrence’s most recent criminal activity when they discovered that, on May 21, 2019, he had accessed a website that had an explicit focus on the facilitation of sharing child abuse material with an emphasis on BDSM, hurtcore, gore and death-related material. A federal search warrant subsequently executed at Lawrence’s residence revealed that Lawrence had received and possessed numerous additional images and videos of child pornography, and that he had accessed some of those images at least as early as 2014.
The United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the Franklin Police Department and the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jo E. Lawless and Stephanie M. Zimdahl prosecuted the case.
This case was 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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”