Jury finds St. Thomas man guilty of child porn production


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ST. THOMAS - A St. Thomas man is facing up to life in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of child pornography production and coercion and enticement of a minor.

After a two-day trial, Tony Jefferson Browne, 31, of Estate Lovenlund, was convicted Tuesday night of four counts of producing child pornography, one count of coercing and enticing a minor, four counts of receiving of child pornography and three counts of transferring obscene material to a minor, U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Joycelyn Hewlett said Wednesday.

The jury also found Browne not guilty of three counts of coercing and enticing a minor, as well as one count of aggravated first degree rape, she said.

Additionally, before the case went to trial, the court dismissed four counts of possessing child pornography, one count of transferring obscene material to minors and one count of extortion using interstate communications.

Sentencing for Browne is scheduled for July 3, until which point he is remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service without bond.

Browne faces a mandatory 15 years imprisonment, though no more than 30 years, per count for the production of child pornography. Additionally, he faces a mandatory 10 years for the count of coercing and enticing a minor, though he could receive up to life imprisonment as well.

The maximum he could be sentenced to for receiving child pornography is 10 years imprisonment per count, and the minimum per count is five years. On top of those years, he could receive up to 10 years imprisonment per count for transferring obscene material to minors.

Also, each of the counts carries a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Marshals arrested Browne in June last year. Browne, who was 30 at the time, was accused of enticing four girls - ages 13 to 17 - to send nude photos of themselves to his phone and to his account on Facebook, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter, who prosecuted the case.

Browne first made contact with the girls via Facebook, where he initially pretended that he also was a girl, and then later went under a false name, "Billy Button," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Browne sent inappropriate photos of himself to the girls, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The girls, during their own testimony, said that, after Browne received photos of the girls, he threatened to expose the photos of the girls if they did not send more photos or have sex with him.

Though most of the girls only knew Browne via Facebook or text messages, one of the four girls testified that she met Browne near her home and he used a knife to coerce her into performing oral sex on him.

However, the jury found him not guilty of the rape charge in connection with that accusation.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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