On April 14, 2021, Teela Moore Hendrix, 35, of Ooltewah, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
As part of the plea agreement filed with the court, Hendrix agreed to plead guilty to a superseding indictment charging her with one count of transportation of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(1) and (b)(l); and one count of creation of a crush video, which includes depictions of the sexual assault of an animal, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 48.
Hendrix was sentenced to 235 months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. Hendrix will be required to register with state sex offender registries and comply with special sex offender conditions during her supervised release.
The defendant sexually abused her 4-year-old son and the family dog and created digital videos of the abuse, which she traded with someone she met in an online room dedicated to sexually abusing animals.
“Mrs. Hendricks’ sentence reflects the seriousness of her crimes and the enduring harm caused when offenders record and preserve their abhorrent exploitation of minors in visual media. Thanks to a partnership between the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Mrs. Hendricks is now in prison, and her son is now safe,” said Acting United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.
“The results of this investigation highlight the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office commitment to protecting our children and the collaborative partnerships we share with our law enforcement partners specifically the United States Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Together, we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those who prey upon our community’s most vulnerable, our children,” stated Chief Deputy Austin Garrett of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (“HCSO”).
“HSI agents make it a top priority to work with all of our law enforcement partners to investigate predators involved with the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material,” said Special Agent in Charge Jerry C. Templet, Jr, HSI Nashville. “Each year, millions of children fall prey to sexual predators, and it is imperative that we do our part to protect vulnerable children from victimization and ensure the perpetrators are punished for their heinous crimes.” The criminal indictment was the result of an investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigation, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (“NC SBI”). This investigation was led by Task Force Officer Ed Merritt and Special Agent Dave Nalley of HSI and Special Agent Chris Munden of the NC SBI. Assistant United States Attorney James T. Brooks represented the United States. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.