Alabama ‘predator’ to spend two decades in prison for uploading child pornography, feds say

Published 11:59 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

An Alabama man was sentenced on child pornography charges, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge James DeLoatch.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor sentenced Lavon Paul Tarpley, 45, to 240 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for distribution of child pornography. Tarpley pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2023.

According to the plea agreement, in December 2020, an FBI Online Covert Employee (OCE) who is a member of the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force in Albany, New York, was conducting an undercover operation involving the Kik messenger application.

As part of the FBI’s operation, they discovered that Tarpley was an administrator of a specific group that was frequented by individuals who have a sexual interest in children, incest, and the production of child sexual abuse material.

Tarpley distributed child pornography to members in this group. Additionally, on February 21, 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a CyberTipline Report from Kik who reported Tarpley for uploading numerous files of child pornography on its application.

“The harms caused by child pornography are so extensive. Child pornography is a permanent record of a child’s horrific abuse and the continued circulation by individuals like Tarpley magnifies the harm to the child,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona. “Victims and their families live every day with the knowledge that this cycle of revictimization may never end due to individuals like Tarpley. Deterrence in these type cases is of utmost importance. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners in Alabama and Albany, New York, this predator has been held accountable for his actions.”

“There is an inherent risk to children anywhere the opportunity exists to communicate online. That’s why the FBI continues to be proactive in our efforts to protect them, casting a wide net over the various online applications and internet platforms where children are vulnerable,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge James DeLoatch. “Investigations like these demonstrate the outstanding work achieved in a collaborative environment with our law enforcement partners.”

The FBI Birmingham’s Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force investigated the case with the assistance of FBI Albany’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), and Homewood Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Leann White prosecuted the case.