Former State Spokesman Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced that Albert Andre Zimmerman, a former state spokesperson for the Florida Department of Children and Families, pleaded guilty to one count of a federal charge of production of child pornography. Zimmerman, 41, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.
According to the plea agreement, from October 2004 through December 2007, Zimmerman persuaded six teenage boys in Hillsborough and Orange counties to engage in sexually explicit conduct and to email him pictures of their behavior. Zimmerman also offered to pay, and in some cases did pay, the boys for the images. He also claimed he was selling the images to a third party who would then distribute those images overseas. At times, Zimmerman provided instruction to the boys concerning the poses they should assume for the photos. Zimmerman, formerly of Tallahassee and Lakeland, was arrested on a federal complaint on February 11, 2008, and was indicted on April 16, 2008.
The case was jointly investigated by the Florida Attorney General’s CyberCrime Unit, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Jacksonville Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Tampa Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Colleen Murphy-Davis.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information on Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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