LEXINGTON, Ky. — Morehead, Ky. man, Joshua Preece, 40, was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison on Monday by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell, after pleading guilty to inciting an underage victim to engage in behavior sexually explicit for the purpose of producing child pornography. Preece is a former Bath County Deputy Sheriff.
According to Preece’s plea agreement, on November 5, 2018, he admitted to responding to a call about an underage victim who was acting out of control at his home. After responding, he transported the victim to a remote area in Bath County. There, Preece sexually assaulted the victim, later requesting sexually explicit photos of the victim via Snapchat. While examining Preece’s phone, law enforcement found several sexually explicit images.
Preece admitted to the conduct and pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2021.
Under federal law, Preece must serve 85% of his prison sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the US Bureau of Life Probation.
“The conduct in this case is simply disgraceful,” said Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The offense itself – a brazen act of child exploitation and abuse – is heinous, but the fact that he committed it while a law enforcement officer makes it even more most heinous. He abused a vulnerable victim, while betraying the public trust and doing a lasting disservice to the dedicated efforts of all law enforcement. I am grateful for the hard work of our law enforcement partners. law enforcement, whose efforts made this lawsuit possible.
US attorney Shier; Robert Holman, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service; and Col. Phillip Burnett, Kentucky State Police Commissioner, jointly announced the sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the US Secret Service and the KSP. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney David Marye.
This case was prosecuted under Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to address the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov..