Grant County Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Producing Child Pornography

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that James C. Gibson, 54, Fennimore, Wisconsin was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 18 years in federal prison for using minors to engage in sexual activity and recording the activity.  Judge Conley also ordered a life term of supervised release to follow the prison sentence. Gibson pleaded guilty to this charge on January 31, 2023.

In early November 2021, the mother of a minor born in 2010 contacted the Fennimore Police Department about inappropriate content she found on a phone that had been used by the minor.  The investigation revealed that James Gibson had been regularly exchanging inappropriately affectionate messages with the minor.  Law enforcement interviewed Gibson, who revealed that he previously had a video depicting child pornography on his phone.  As a result, the officer seized Gibson’s phone and searched it pursuant to a warrant.

The search revealed that within Gibson’s phone were sexually explicit images of the minor, and those of a second minor, also born in 2010.  In addition, the phone contained sexually explicit videos of unknown minors. After finding the images of the known minors, law enforcement interviewed them and both confirmed that the defendant took nude pictures of them at his residence in Fennimore. Finally, according to one of the minors, the defendant took nude pictures of them from the summer of 2020 through September 2021.

In sentencing Gibson, Judge Conley observed that the defendant groomed multiple 11 and 12-year old children by using their interests to get close to them, showered them with gifts, and paid for their phone and phone plans. Gibson then coerced two into producing child pornography, and sexually assaulted at least one of them. Judge Conley found that Gibson manipulated the victims and their families leading to abhorrent abuse, and that he posed a significant risk to minors in the community.

The charge against Gibson was the result of an investigation conducted by the Fennimore Police Department, with the assistance of Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and the Office of the Grant County District Attorney.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Przybylinski Finn prosecuted this case.