A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment this week against Brent Hooton, 48, of Marysville, charging him with sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of California.
In May 2021, Hooton allegedly produced images of a child under the age of 12 engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to court documents. Hooten then allegedly distributed those images to other users over the Kik messaging application.
If convicted of sexual exploitation of a child, Hooton faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
The case is a product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.