BUFFALO — A Cattaraugus woman faces at least five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to producing child pornography.
Melanie Thompson, 46, pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography before U.S. District Judge John Sinatra Jr.
U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. said Tuesday that the charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. Under the plea agreement, Thompson also agrees to register as a sex offender, forfeit two mobile phones and pay other fines and penalties.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Fiut, who is handling the case, said the case stems from an incident in 2017.
According to the plea deal filed with the court, prosecutors allege Thompson took sexually-explicit photographs of a teenage girl in order to impersonate the girl online. Afterward, Thompson is accused of conversing through social media with an underage boy in the spring and summer of 2019, a second underage boy in the fall and winter of 2019 and 2020; and an adult man in the winter of 2020.
During those online discussions, prosecutors said she provided the photographs of the girl, as well as coercing the boys to take and send explicit photographs.
No original criminal complaint was immediately available via the federal Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.
Prosecutors said the investigation was performed by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 17.