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Oklahoma Woman Sentenced in Federal Child Porn Case

23-May-2014

Certainly, there are stereotypes about the kinds of people who commit certain crimes, but as any defense lawyer can attest, the people charged with various crimes come from all walks of life. Age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are no indicator of whether or not a person will commit a specific criminal act. 

Typically, it seems as if most defendants in child pornography cases are men, but women are certainly not immune to engaging in the sexual exploitation of children. The case of Kimberly Crain, a McCloud elementary teacher convicted of taking sexually explicit pictures of her third-grade students, demonstrates that all too clearly.

Now, another Oklahoma woman has been sentenced for manufacturing and distributing child pornography. In February, Laura Jean Shoulders, 46, pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography. Earlier this week, United States District Judge Robin J. Cauthron sentenced Shoulders to 324 months in prison. She is not to be eligible for parole during her 27 year term. Upon release, Shoulders must register as a sex offender.

The Burns Flat woman was arrested, charged, and convicted after she took iPhone video of herself performing sex acts on a one-year-old girl she was babysitting and sent those videos to a man she "met" on Craigslist. Investigators say the man then further distributed the videos to other people online. A U.S. Department of Justice press release regarding Shoulders's federal criminal charges describes the incident as follows:

"According to the complaint affidavit, in the summer of 2012, a male responded to Craigslist personals ad and made contact with Shoulders. It is alleged that the two began corresponding through text messages about sexually explicit themes and exchanged explicit photographs. It is further alleged that the conversations developed into messages concerning child pornography and Shoulders sent three videos of herself performing sexual acts with a one-year-old girl with her iPhone taken in approximately April of this year."

Shoulders was investigated by the Oklahoma Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, the Burns Flat Police Department, the Washita County Sheriff's Department, the Dewey County Sheriff's Department, and the United States Secret Service.

It is horrifying to parents that the people to whom they entrust the care of their children can turn out to be their abusers. Each day, Oklahoma parents send their children to school or daycare, bring babysitters into their homes, and allow their children to play at the homes of friends or relatives. Each day, these parents expect the safe return of their children. Unfortunately, many Oklahoma children will be physically or sexually abused or exploited by trusted friends, family members, and caregivers. Law enforcement agencies such as ICAC intend to apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children.



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