Lawyer from Leesville and Another Local Man Sentenced for their Involvement in Two Separate Child Pornography Cases
Published 3:31 pm Thursday, October 6, 2022
LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced the sentencing of two defendants who were involved in separate child pornography cases. United States District Judge James D. Cain, Jr. sentenced the following individuals today:
Michael Allen Smith, Jr., 33, a lawyer from Leesville, Louisiana, has been sentenced to 168 months (14 years) in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, for enticement of a minor. Smith pleaded guilty on February 17, 2022 to the charge which was the result of an investigation into a complaint received in January 2020 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The mother of a 15-year-old boy reported that while her son was visiting a relative in the Leesville area, he had met and engaged in sexual conduct with an adult male. The mother told law enforcement that she had seen a video on her son’s phone of he and the adult male engaged in sexual conduct. She took the phone from her son and turned it over to law enforcement for further investigation.
The victim was interviewed, and agents determined that he had engaged in these acts with Smith, who recorded them on his phone at his residence in Leesville. The victim admitted that he met Smith on the social media platform Grindr and initially told Smith that he was 21-years-old. However, he later confessed that he was a minor and Smith continued the sexual relationship with the victim and in fact visited his profiles on social media and knew he was a minor.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Luke Walker and Earl M. Campbell.
In another case, Raymond Fontenot, Jr., 39, of Reeves, Louisiana, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for production of child pornography. Fontenot pleaded guilty to the charge on July 6, 2022. According to evidence presented to the court, officers with the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Fontenot’s residence on November 9, 2021. While searching the residence, law enforcement officers found an Android tablet hidden in Fontenot’s bathroom. Another search warrant was obtained for the tablet and a forensic examination was performed. The examination revealed videos containing child pornography, specifically one from 2020 depicting sexual abuse of a prepubescent girl while she was sleeping. Fontenot admitted to law enforcement officers that he had created the video and had sexually exploited the victim.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Vermaelen.
These cases are part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.