A Mt. Airy man arrested by the GBI in 2017 for two counts of sexual exploitation of children has been convicted and sentenced in the case.
Following a four-day trial June 3-6 in Habersham County Superior Court, Charles Keith Herring, 40, was convicted of two counts of sexual exploitation of children, said Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney George Christian on Monday.
Assistant District Attorneys Meredith Davis and J. Edward Staples presented evidence that on Jan. 15, 2017, Herring possessed two digital images of a minor child depicting sexually explicit conduct, along with other photographs of a similar nature that indicated the charged photographs were lewd, according to Christian.
“The images were uploaded to Herring’s Google Drive on that date,” Christian’s statement reads. “As required by federal law, Google reported the suspicious images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C., and alert was passed on to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC).”
The investigating GBI agent arrested Herring on April 9, and he was booked in at the Habersham County Detention Center.
Witnesses testified the subject of the photographs was a nearly 2-year-old child.
Herring was found not guilty of two counts of child molestation related to the acts depicted in the digital images.
Following the guilty verdict, Superior Court Chief Judge Russell W. Smith heard argument and evidence from both the State and Defense, as well as a victim impact statement from the mother of the victim before sentencing Herring to 25 years in prison, followed by 15 years on probation.