An Indianapolis man and woman have been sentenced to federal prison for sexually exploiting a child, including producing child pornography with the minor victim, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Bennie W. Schuck II, 46, and Amber Talley, 36, were sentenced to 45 years in prison. A federal grand jury indicted them and two others in September 2019.
Both Schuck and Talley were in a position of trust with the minor victim, who was less than 12 years of age, and sexually abused her. She reported that the abuse had been ongoing for at least a year.
Schuck and Talley created images of the abuse, which they sent to each other. According to court documents, Schuck admitted to police he had exploited the child “fewer than 20 times.”
Schuck also sent the sexually explicit images of the child victim to a woman through the instant messaging app Kik Messenger, which led to the detection of Schuck and Talley’s crimes.
The probe started in April 2019 after police in Louisiana investigated the online activities of a man accused of receiving sexually explicit images of at least one minor online. This man allegedly traded child pornography with Indiana resident Diana Roe, who was arrested and charged federally in May 2019.
When law enforcement investigated the images and chats found on Roe’s devices, they uncovered evidence showing that Schuck was sexually abusing and exploiting a child.
Using social media and public records, law enforcement identified Talley as another person who participated in the sexual exploitation of that child.
The Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a search warrant in August 2019. According to court documents, both Shuck and Talley admitted to engaging in illegal sexual conduct with the child. Both admitted creating images of the sexual conduct, and Schuck admitted to distributing images online.
Four others who were charged in the case already have pleaded guilty. They are:
- Diana Roe, 50, sentenced to 15 years in prison. After imprisonment, she must spend the remainder of her life on supervised release. She also must pay $31,000 in restitution.
- Joshua Mead, 40, sentenced to 9 years in prison, 10 years supervised release, and ordered to pay $44,000 in restitution.
- Joshua Hart, 26, sentenced to six years in prison and 15 years supervised release.
- Quinton Byassee, 35, sentenced to 11 years in prison, 20 years supervised release, and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.
“The actions of these defendants were beyond heinous and what they subjected this young victim to will likely have untold ramifications for years – no child should ever have to go through something like this by those in a position of trust” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. “The sentence they received will ensure they can never again subject another child to sexual abuse and exploitation.”
The investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force. Susie’s Place in Avon assisted with this case.
Schuck must pay $25,000 in restitution and serve 10 years on supervised release, while Talley must pay $10,000 in restitution and serve five years on supervised release, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina M. Korobov, who prosecuted the case.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.