United States v. Dewitt, No. 19-1295 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Dewitt was living with his fiancée, three-year-old son, and four-year-old daughter when he began chatting with Palchak on an anonymous phone application. The men met in an online group, “Open Family Fun.” Palchak was actually an undercover member of the FBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Dewitt told Palchak about his children. Palchak reciprocated by conveying information about his (fictitious) nine-year-old daughter. Dewitt admitted to sexually abusing his four-year-old daughter but indicated he preferred slightly older girls at the beginning of puberty. He offered to send images of himself abusing his daughter if Palchak would do the same. Dewitt sent one video and one still image of fully nude girls, with descriptions of the sexual acts he would like to see Palchak’s nine-year-old daughter perform. The FBI arrested Dewitt and searched his phone, revealing the images sent to Palchak and a photo of Dewitt engaged in a sexual act with his four-year-old daughter. Dewitt was convicted of three counts relating to the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2251(a), 2252(a)(2), and 2252(a)(4)(B), and was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Dewitt’s argument that the government’s evidence was insufficient because the jury heard no expert testimony about the age of girls depicted in images sent from his cellphone. The jury heard and saw more than enough to make a reliable finding that Dewitt possessed, produced, and distributed images of children.