Feds Indict Devlin on Child Porn & Sex Charges

Michael J. Devlin was indicted by a federal Grand Jury yesterday on four felony counts of producing child pornography, and two felony counts of transportation of a minor for criminal sex acts.

 

All of these six new federal charges are strictly related to Devlin’s torture of Shawn Hornbeck during the four and a half years Devlin held him captive.

 

In the indictment, Devlin is accused of taking an untold number of still Poloroid photographs, creating VHS videotapes, and creating even more videos on digital mini-format of a minor identified on each as “S”.  The indictment further accuses Devlin of having created these pictures and videos in at least two states.  These pictures and videotapes were all recovered from Devlin’s apartment in Kirkwood, Missouri.

 

US Attorney Catherine Hanaway of the Eastern District of Missouri announced the new indictments of Devlin yesterday, and in their aftermath, I am even more amazed at Hornbeck’s strength and courage to have survived the last third of his young life.

 

According to the press release following the Grand Jury findings, the indictments are the result of joint collaboration by federal, state and local investigators, who will “continue to work with state prosecutors to ensure that Mr. Devlin spends the rest of his life in prison,” said Ms. Hanaway.

 

The actual charges in this federal indictment are as follows:

 

The indictment in Count 1 alleges that Devlin “photographed a minor engaging in sexually-explicit conduct” between October 2002 and July 2003.

 

Counts 2, 3 and 4 of the indictment charges Devlin with having “videotaped a minor engaged in sexually-explicit conduct” between July 2003 and January 2007.

 

Count 5 alleges that “Devlin took a minor to the State of Illinois in February 2004, with the intent to engage in Criminal Sexual Assault, a violation of Illinois Law.”

 

Count 6, the final count in the indictment, alleges that “Devlin took a minor to the State of Arizona between June 20 and July 3, 2004, with the intent to engage in Sexual Assault, a violation of Arizona law.”

 

You may recall, with regard to the last count, that Devlin traveled in 2004 to Prescott, Arizona to attend the wedding of his brother.  Devlin was the only member of his family not to fly and further would not stay in the same hotel as the other wedding guests.  It was strongly speculated and believed that Devlin kept Shawn hidden in his motel room during the event and drove to remain separate from his family, as well.

 

This new federal indictment adds to the long list of charges filed against Devlin by three separate counties in Missouri for the abductions and torture of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby.  Earlier this week, the Franklin County Grand Jury returned an indictment of child kidnapping and armed criminal action against Devlin in the matter of Ben Ownby, allowing that case to now go to trial.

 

Grand Juries in  Washington County (where Devlin faces simple kidnapping, torture and armed criminal action in the abduction of Shawn Hornbeck) and in St. Louis County (where 71 charges of kidnapping and sodomy of both Hornbeck and Ownby are filed) have yet to report their findings, but which are expected soon.

 

Ms. Hanaway, by the way, was a Republican member of the Missouri House of Representatives and served as its Speaker.  She joined the US Attorney’s office in April of last year, with attacking child pornography and exploitation as one of her five top priorities.  In addition to the Devlin case, she has receive two guilty pleas (just yesterday) and one conviction (last month) of three other men indicted in her jurisdiction on charges of crimes against children.

 

Regarding the charges against Devlin, Hanaway said yesterday that details of this case had “sickened” her.  “I am sickened by the fact that this minor had their life changed forever,” she said.

 

Per Ms. Hanaway, “This is by far the worst thing that we’ve ever seen.”

 

Amen.

 

The actual indictment can be viewed, in its entirety, here:

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/moe/files/significant_cases/devlin_indictment.pdf.

 

And our pals at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have filed their story of the indictment here:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/9F7AD23E45A9B1C886257292000C28B8?OpenDocument

 

 

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3 responses to “Feds Indict Devlin on Child Porn & Sex Charges

  1. thank you for your excellent blog, you cover important legal aspects (the motions etc) that the mainstream media ignore.

    Two clarificationss please

    1) “Grand Juries in Washington County (where Devlin faces simple kidnapping, torture and armed criminal action in the abduction of Shawn Hornbeck” – are there actual torture charges in that county ?

    2) The indictment further accuses Devlin of having created these pictures and videos in at least two states – is that correct, i dont believe they gave locations for the porn production.

  2. Thank you, Eugene. I appreciate the positive feedback. I also appreciate your questions.

    In response, I offer the following specific answers:

    1. In short, where did I come up with “terrorism” of Hornbeck? In Chapter 565 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, Devlin is charged with kidnapping of Hornbeck under Section 110. (RSMo: 565.110) There are several definition tests for application of this statute under Missouri rules, and prosecutors have specifically chosen two of those for Devlin: that the kidnapping was committed to (a) facilitate a felony and (b) to inflict injury and/or terrorize the victim. Prosecutors will bring forth at trial that Devlin kidnapped Hornbeck for the purpose of committing sexual assault and, through the commission and frequency of commission, did terrorize Hornbeck into psychological compliance and inflicted both physican and mental injury. This information is contained in charges filed in Washington County, and further in briefs filed in this case.

    2. Regarding the production of pornography by Devlin in more than one state, Count I of the indictment specifically cites Devlin for violation of 18USC §2251(a) and further specifically accuses Devlin of taking the poloroid camera – with “S” – across state lines. Prosecutors will support at trial that Devlin not only took Hornbeck from Missouri to Illinois during his first nine months of captivity, but that Devlin repeatedly sodomized and assaulted him there AND created additional photographs of same. They will allege the very same with digital videos.

    Furthermore, and what I did not write in my post, is that Prosecutors are prepared to use a huge host of evidence at trial to support that Devlin transmitted both scanned Polaroid photographs (taken at different locations) and digital videos created of “S”, a minor child engaged in sex acts (created at different locations), via his computer and the internet to a myriad of locations. This information is contained in the federal indictment, as well as in briefs filed in this case.

  3. many thanks for taking so much time to explain in detail and plain english. (I’m no lawyer obviously!).

    I didnt understand the meaning of “interstate commerce”. I though it just meant he purchased the camera out-of-state. I understand it now.

    Also, I appreciate your post on the “legal dance” over the plea. As a non US citizen these things are puzzling ( I think plea barganing is fairly unknown outside of the USA). Again the mainstream media focus on the sensational side of the story but serve their public poorly by not explaining the legal process. Keep this good work going.

    The terrorizing/injury thing depresses me. I realise now that this is much darker than appeared at first. He wanted to hurt the child.

    There is obviously a reason he went out-of-state, he took the child somewhere where he could achieve some horrible situation not available in kirkwood. I wont speculate but it was obviously “special” for MD.

    What I find most depressing and disgusting is that he leaves a legacy on the internet that will outlive his own wretched life and haunt the victim for all of his and perhaps even his childrens lives. Why could he not spare the child at least that ? He had taken everything else the child could give.

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