COLUMBUS, Ga. –A Columbus, Georgia, resident admitted to possessing photos and videos of children being sexual abused in federal court today, resulting from a joint FBI and GBI investigation into the production and distribution of child pornography online.
Townes Ward Borum, 38, of Columbus, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Clay Land. Borum faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, she is facing up to a lifetime of supervised release and will have to register as a sex offender upon release from federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.
“There is an evil online world of adults—hiding behind their screens—who will do and pay anything for the sexual abuse of young children, and there are child predators who will provide this horrific content. It is a sickening reality and one that every level of law enforcement will never stop fighting,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to commend the many law enforcement agencies and community groups involved in this case for their unyielding dedication to protecting children and bringing child predators to justice.”
“People like Borum, who sexually exploit children for monetary gain, do serious lasting harm and facilitate in the continued manufacturing and trading of child sexual abuse material,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta “The FBI is committed to working with our partners to find such predators, and lock them up so they can do no further harm.”
“This case shows how low predators will go to profit from innocent lives. Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit remains committed to diligently investigating individuals who exploit our children,” said GBI Director Michael Register.
According to facts presented at court, GBI was contacted by law enforcement in New Jersey on May 20, 2022, with information that an adult female in the Middle District of Georgia was distributing nude photos of a young child to a man in their jurisdiction. The initial Cybertip leading to the New Jersey man came from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and a subsequent investigation found digital files of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the man’s cell phone. The man told authorities that Borum was providing him with the CSAM material, and that they had been communicating on the Whisper app and by text message. The man said he paid Borum’s rent and other expenses in exchange for sexually explicit photos and videos of young children.
A search warrant was executed by GBI at Borum’s Columbus home on May 21, 2022. Borum’s cell phone was seized; it contained hundreds of images and videos of CSAM, including images of CSAM depicting young children. Her phone also contained numerous messages between Borum and others discussing the exchange of child sexual abuse material for money. Agents also found online advertisements she created and posted to sell child sexual abuse material. Borum admitted to the facts in court.
The plea agreement in this case is sealed at the request of the Government for protection of minor victims.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by GBI, FBI-Atlanta, FBI-Dallas and FBI-Los Angeles, with special assistance from the Bergen County, New Jersey, District Attorney’s Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Crawford Seals is prosecuting the case for the Government.