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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Martin County Sex Offender Sentenced to a Decade in Federal Prison after Investigators Locate His Collection Child Sexual Abuse Material

EVANSVILLE- MARCH 28, 2024 - Ryan Watkins, 47, of Loogootee, Martin County, Indiana, has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of sexually explicit material involving minors.

Photo: Ryan Watkins 47, Loogootee

According to court documents, on multiple occasions between January and April of 2023, Ryan Watkins viewed and downloaded images of child sexual abuse material to his cell phone linked to an internet cloud-based data storage platform.

Investigators examined the files and found more than 600 images depicting minors under twelve years old engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were also located by investigators in a Google Chrome cache folder and download folders on Watkins’ cellphone.

In May of 2010, Watkins was convicted of felony Child Molestation, in Davies County, Indiana and was a registered sex offender at the time he was viewing the sexually explicit material involving minors.

“This previously convicted child molester chose to continue seeking gratification from the sexual abuse of children,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “He didn’t care about the trauma that was inflicted on these victims, so long as he could enjoy this heinous material. Thanks to the U.S. Secret Service, Indiana State Police, and our federal prosecutor, our children are safer, and this dangerous offender is back behind bars where he belongs.”

The United States Secret Service and the Indiana State Police investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young. Judge Young also ordered that Watkins be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for fifteen years following his release from federal prison and that he must pay $6,000 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who prosecuted this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals 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.

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