On Feb. 10, federal investigators arrested and charged George Thomas Griffiths, Jr., 41, of Ponte Vedra Beach with distributing child pornography, according to the Department of Justice.
In a federal press release, Griffiths faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and a potential life term of supervised release.
According to the criminal complaint, an FBI task force officer in Wisconsin began an undercover investigation using a particular social media app to identify people attempting to sexually exploit children online.
From Feb. 3 through Feb. 20, 2020, an individual user named “ban_me_again” uploaded several videos featuring children being sexually abused to a chat room on the app.
Meanwhile, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that the same app had reported that the user (“ban_me_again”) had uploaded videos containing possible child-exploitative material during this same time period.
Investigators say they traced the IP addresses used to distribute the videos to Griffiths’s residence in Ponte Vedra Beach, and to his place of employment in Jacksonville, where Griffiths worked as a radiology technician.
On Nov. 19, 2020, SJSO detectives, together with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, executed a search warrant at Griffiths’s home and seized an Apple iPhone belonging to the suspect.
During an interview,, Griffiths told investigators he used this particular app to talk to people and that it was “possible” that he had exchanged pictures and videos on the app.
Griffiths’s iPhone contained at least 2,000 images, and at least 10 videos, depicting child sexual abuse. Many of these images and videos depicted infants, toddlers, and prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to investigators.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations.