Federal program targets online child predators
A Bradenton man who produced a series of violent videos of himself raping an infant and then posted them on the dark web is going to federal prison.
James Lockhart, 31, received a maximum sentence of 70 years for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography on Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. He pled guilty to the charges in March.
Lockhart produced the four-video series of himself violently sexually abusing the girl between March 2016 and February 2018. He then posted them on a dark web forum using aliases “StrangeWood” and “HardWood,” according to court records.
Lockhart wrote on the forum that more videos would be produced and took suggestions, according to a plea agreement.
In addition to those posted online, investigators found more videos and images of sexual abuse of the child in Lockhart’s possession. He also bragged about abusing another 1-year-old child.
Lockhart was arrested Oct. 5, 2018, after Homeland Security agents searched his home in Bradenton and found the images on his computer.
The search of Lockhart’s residence turned up devices that contained 43 videos depicting child pornography and at least 4,000 images of child pornography. The collection included more abuse of infants and “sadomasochistic and violent conduct,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“This deviant committed the most horrible atrocities imaginable to a 1-year-old child,” said Homeland Security agent Michael B. Cochran in a press release. “HSI’s national and international partnerships have helped ensure that this predator will never again harm a child.”
Lockhart was a licensed paramedic and worked at Paramedics Logistics Florida from 2012 to October 2018, when he was terminated. Paramedics Logistics Florida is the parent company of Sunstar Paramedics, a Pinellas County private ambulance company.
The case, which was part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. They were assisted by Australia’s Queensland Police Service.
It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Murray.