2 Coastal Empire women sentenced in child pornography case

Crime & Safety

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Two Coastal Empire women received hefty prison sentences for producing and distributing child pornography.

U.S. District Court Judge Stan Baker sentenced 30-year-old Melanie Smith (aka Melanie Small) of Rincon to 30 years in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to Production of Child Pornography. She was also ordered to pay $3 million in restitution and must serve 20 years of supervised release after her prison sentence.

Smith’s co-defendant, 34-year-old Holly Clayton of Port Wentworth was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography. Clayton must serve 15 years of supervised release after the completion of her sentence.

Both Smith and Clayton’s incarceration will be consecutive to any sentence they receive for their pending state charges of Child Molestation.

According to court documents and testimony, Smith produced sexually explicit photos of children, and Clayton distributed photos and videos of child pornography. A third defendant faces related charges in this case.

“These predators have stolen the innocence of these children, forcing them to be re-victimized every time those horrific images are viewed,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI Atlanta will continue to prioritize our investigations and work with our partners to protect our youth.”

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Savannah Police Department and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela C. Mateo and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Semales.

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