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Published On: Mon, Oct 29th, 2018

Danville men, Matthew Ferguson, Joshua Coleman Plead Guilty to Child Porn Charge

A pair of Danville men pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Danville to a charge of production of child pornography, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

Today in District Court, Matthew Ceasar Ferguson, 22, and Joshua Malik Coleman, 22, both of Danville, each pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography. At sentencing, each faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years’ incarceration.

“Protecting children from sexual exploitation is among our top priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Cullen.  “I am grateful for the dedication and commitment of our federal, state, and local partners in bringing these two sexual predators to justice.”

photo Wset10

According to a statement of facts entered into the record during today’s guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Heather L. Carlton, on October 22, 2016, Ferguson contacted Victim A, a juvenile female who was 15-years-old at the time, via Facebook Messenger. Ferguson informed Victim A that he and his cousin, Joshua Coleman, had alcohol, and asked if Victim A wanted to hang out. Victim A agreed. Although they knew each other, Victim A had never socialized with Ferguson or Coleman prior to October 22, 2016.

Coleman picked up Victim A and drove her to his house in Danville, made alcoholic drinks for her from multiple bottles of different alcohols, and all three, Victim A, Coleman, and Ferguson, smoked K-2, a synthetic form of marijuana. At some point, Victim A passed out. When she woke up between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., she did not feel well and asked Ferguson and Coleman to drive her to the hospital. The two dropped her off outside and drove away. Victim A was treated for alcohol poisoning.

A few weeks later, Victim A saw two videos on Facebook showing herself engaging in sexual intercourse with Ferguson and Coleman. In both videos, Ferguson and Coleman record themselves having sexual intercourse with Victim A while recording the events on a cellphone. Towards the end of the videos, Victim A appears unresponsive.

Victim A did not give permission for the sexual contact or the filming of it. At the time of filming, Victim A was 15-years-old.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Danville Police Department, the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, and the Danville Commonwealth Attorney.  Assistant United States Attorney Heather L. Carlton and Ronald M. Huber are prosecuting the case for the United States.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a federal program designed to bring together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting each community’s most violent criminals.  Attorney General Sessions directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as the local civilian community, to develop effective, targeted strategies to reduce violent crime.  This case is a product of that collaborative effort.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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