MONTOGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL ) – A Lee County man is going to federal prison for nearly 40 years after pleading guilty in a child sexual exploitation case.

According to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office Middle District of Alabama, on Oct. 4, 2022, Brandon Thomas Hart, 33, from Smiths Station, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for sexually exploiting two children.

Hart had previously plead guilty to the charges against him in June 2022.

According to the news release, the investigation into Hart began in September 2020, when law enforcement in Dallas, Texas became aware of sexually explicit images of children being shared on Kik, a message app.

The origin of the images was traced by back to Smiths Station, Alabama by FBI agents. Hart was then identified as potential suspect in the case.

Hart’s involvement was confirmed with further investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

In a plea agreement, “Hart specifically admitted to inducing two minors under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct for him to photograph.”

Additionally, “Hart also admitted that he recorded explicit images of the two minors while they were not conscious and distributed the images online using Kik.”          

After serving his prison term, Hart will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.