Sunday, September 10, 2023–2:02 p.m.
-US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia-
A Calhoun man who distributed images of child sex abuse and his wife, a former middle school special education teacher who received those images and deleted text messages to conceal his crimes, have been sentenced to federal prison.
“By sharing images depicting the sexual violation of minors, the defendants re-victimized children whose lives have been forever altered by this abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “The conduct in this case is especially egregious given that one of the defendants, a schoolteacher, occupied a position of trust in the community. The Department of Justice is committed to helping to ensure the safety and well-being of children, so we especially place a high priority on protecting and combating sexual exploitation of minors. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect children from sexual predators and pedophiles.”
“Finding and arresting predators, like these, who distribute images of children being abused is one of our most important missions and we take it seriously, said HSI Atlanta acting Special Agent in Charge Travis Pickard. “HSI, along with our dedicated law enforcement partners, remains committed to identifying individuals who prey on our most vulnerable population — especially those who hold positions of public trust.”
“The possession and distribution of child pornography poses a great threat to our communities. The GBI is devoted to protecting minors in our state and will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure we hold those accountable who sexually exploit children,” said Chris Hosey, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Beginning no later than in December 2017, William Sandridge began to send his wife, Allyn Sandridge, text messages detailing his sexual fantasies involving prepubescent children. Some of the messages contained images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At that time, Allyn Sandridge was employed as a special education teacher at a charter school in Canton, Georgia.
At William Sandridge’s direction, Allyn Sandridge periodically deleted her husband’s text messages and used an encrypted messaging application. These steps were intended to avoid detection of and conceal William Sandridge’s crimes.
On December 29, 2022, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the Sandridges’ home acting on a tip received by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. During the search, investigators discovered multiple cell phones and a desktop computer loaded with graphic images of child sex abuse. Allyn Sandridge cooperated with the investigation immediately and disclosed to the officers the material William Sandridge had sent to her phone.
On September 6, 2023, U.S. District Judge William M. Ray, II sentenced the defendants as follows:
• William Sandridge, 42, of Calhoun, Georgia, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to distribution of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct on June 6, 2023.
• Allyn Michelle Sandridge, 42, of Calhoun, Georgia, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. She pleaded guilty to possession of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and misprision of a felony on May 25, 2023.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Calhoun Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Hertzberg prosecuted the case.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.