Gospel singer sentenced for sexual exploitation of a minor

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a traveling gospel singer from Muncie, Indiana has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor and distribution of child pornography.

Acting U.S. Attorney of the Central District of Illinois Patrick Hansen says Shawn Shannon, 45, was convicted of 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography.  In addition to the prison sentence, Shannon was also ordered to pay $1,387 in restitution, and serve a lifetime of supervised release after completing his prison sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, Hansen says Shannon lured a 13-year-old boy to a Decatur, Illinois hotel and had the child pose for sexually explicit photos, which were taken with Shannon's smartphone.  Hansen also says Shannon attempted to delete the photos, as well as thousands of text messages and contacts after he was confronted by the victim's mother.  Hansen adds that the text messages were recovered by forensic examiners, and that Shannon also engaged in sexual contact and took similar photos with another child, according to trial evidence.

Shannon has remained in custody since his arrest on April 15, 2015.

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