LAKE CHARLES, La. (Press Release) –United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Damon Lechtenberg, 46, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay, for production of child pornography.
According to his guilty plea, Lechtenberg admitted to filming a minor female using hidden cameras that he had placed in the minor’s bedroom and bathroom. In December of 2019, authorities learned of Lechtenberg’s activities and obtained a search warrant. Law enforcement officers located multiple hidden cameras that had previously been hidden in the child’s bedroom and bathroom. Lechtenberg told officers that he placed the cameras in the bedroom and bathroom and filmed the minor while the minor was nude. A subsequent forensics review of the electronic devices seized from Lechtenberg revealed approximately 200 videos of the nude minor. Lechtenberg will remain in custody until sentencing.
At sentencing on July 16, 2020, Damon Lechtenberg faces up to 60 years in prison, five years to life of supervised release, registration as a sex offender and a $250,000 fine.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Luke Walker is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) also encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online by visiting their website at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone application www.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app. Tips may be submitted anonymously.