Jacksonville Man, Earl Frederic Owens Sentenced To More Than Eight Years In Federal Prison For Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Images Using The Kik Social Media App
Jacksonville, FL (STL.News) United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Earl Frederic Owens (33, Jacksonville) to eight years and nine months in federal prison for distributing child sex abuse images using the Kik social media application. Owens was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release, register as a sex offender, and pay $3,000 in restitution to a child victim. Owens has been in custody since his arrest on November 19, 2019.
Owens had pleaded guilty on November 17, 2020.
According to evidence and court documents, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cyber Crimes Center received a report from Kik, a social messaging app, that several different user accounts had uploaded images depicting the sexual exploitation of children using the Kik app. Further investigation revealed that these materials were distributed online from an apartment in Jacksonville, where Owens lived.
On November 19, 2019, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Owens’s apartment. During an interview with agents, Owens admitted that he uses the Kik app to chat with strangers about his “urges,” he has an interest in “pedophilia,” and that he traded child sex abuse materials with others online using the Kik app.