Defendant faces lengthy prison sentence after child pornography convictions

by Submitted News

A Wilmington man could spend the rest of his life in prison following a litany of felony convictions in a child pornography case.

Sheldon Lee, 64, was convicted on May 16 of 50 felonies — 25 counts of Dealing in Child Pornography and 25 counts of Sex Offender Unlawful Sexual Conduct Against a Child.

Lee’s trial represented the first use an updated statute, sponsored by Rep. Valerie Longhurst and Sen. Nicole Poore and passed unanimously in 2022, that closed a “partial nudity” loophole in Delaware’s child sexual abuse material (CSAM) laws. Under prior law, possession of non-nude images of children was not a prosecutable offense. House Bill 428 added possession of images depicting partial child nudity — e.g., victims who were scantily clothed, provocatively posed, etc., but not blatantly nude — to the State’s CSAM statute as a Class D Felony. 

“These cases are difficult to talk about, but we have to confront them. Our kids’ safety in non-negotiable,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “I’m grateful to the prosecutors and police who investigated and convicted the defendant; and I’m just as grateful to the legislators who worked with us to close loopholes in State law and protect kids from predators. This common-sense legislation is already making an impact for our community.”

Following an investigation by the Delaware Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), Lee, who was already registered as a Tier II Sex Offender following convictions in 2016 for Dealing Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography, was found to be in possession of more than 100,000 images of child pornography, in addition to hundred of images he was storing online. 

Lee will be sentenced in June and faces a statutory sentencing range of 0 to 575 years in prison.

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