URBANA — A Muncie, Indiana, man convicted of sexual exploitation of a child in Decatur has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release.

Shawn Shannon, 45, a traveling gospel singer, was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce of the Central District Office in Urbana. He also ordered Shannon to pay $1,387 in restitution and serve a lifetime of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Shannon was convicted on July 27, 2016, after a three-day trial of 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography.

At trial, evidence showed Shannon lured a 13-year-old boy to a Decatur hotel and directed him to pose for a series of sexually explicit photos that Shannon took with smartphone. Shannon attempted to delete evidence from his phone, including text messages and contacts of a nefarious nature, after the victim's mother had learned of Shannon's conduct and confronted him, prosecutors said.

Shannon was arrested April 15, 2015, and remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations and the Decatur Police Department investigated the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse, led by U.S. attorney offices nationwide.

The case was prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys Elly M. Peirson and Maureen C. Cain. Shannon was represented by Kevin P. Bolger of Chicago during the trial.


Load comments