Ad Spot

Southampton County man sentenced for production of child porn

A Southampton County man was sentenced July 14 to 40 years in prison for producing and possessing images of child sexual abuse.

James W. Thomas III

A Department of Justice press release continued by stating that James William Thomas III, 36, was found guilty by a jury on Feb. 13, 2020, of seven counts of production of child pornography and three counts of possession of child pornography. 

According to court records, Thomas’s crimes were discovered in 2014 after he was caught burglarizing a coin shop in Franklin. Southampton County investigators obtained a search warrant for Thomas’s residence and seized evidence related to more than 25 unsolved burglaries in Virginia and North Carolina. Part of this seizure included computers and other digital storage devices.

The evidence presented at trial showed that a review of these electronic devices revealed the presence of child pornography. 

Moreover, investigators found detailed folders on the devices with names of child victims and saved chat sessions. Thomas also saved related images and videos.

Over multiple years, Thomas, then in his late 20s, posed as a 17-year-old teen and befriended female victims on social media who were generally between the ages of 12-16. 

In one instance, he convinced a 14-year-old girl to meet him for sex on three separate occasions.

Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph L. Kosky prosecuted the case.