Jacksonville man gets 10 years in federal prison for child abuse material

More than 1,900 files depicting sexual abuse of children when they seized Marshall Sills’ computer, according to federal investigators.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Marshall Tyler Sills, 27, of Jacksonville was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for distributing child sexual abuse materials.

The criminal investigation began in May 2020 after agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received a tip from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) about the uploading and sharing of files depicting the sexual abuse of children from a residence in Jacksonville Heights.

CCSO reported an agent with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation had recently started an investigation into an upload and distribution of files of child sexual abuse material from the same residence around the same time period, according to court documents.

In July 2020, Homeland Security learned that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office had also been investigating the sharing of depictions of the sexual abuse of children from the same house, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office had also begun an investigation of the upload of files depicting sexual abuse from the home in Sept. 2020.

HSI, working with CCSO and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, executed a federal search warrant at the residence on Dec. 3, 2020, but Sills had recently moved from his residence in Jacksonville Heights to an apartment in Ortega.

Agents determined that the same file-sharing program that had been used at Sills’ former residence was being used at Sills’ new address.

According to court documents, federal investigators located internet activity consistent with the upload of depictions of child sex abuse.

On Dec. 17, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed at Sills’ apartment. He later admitted during an interview to receiving, downloading, and viewing images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Sills confessed to investigators that he was attracted to children.

Agents seized Sills’ desktop computer, which contained more than 1,900 files depicting children being sexually abused.

“Every time child pornography is shared, it victimizes a child again,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “HSI special agents and our partners with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office have made sure this predator will account for his victimization of our most vulnerable.”

Sills had pleaded guilty on June 2, 2021. Following his release, Sills will have a 15-year term of supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.

This is another case 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 Attorneys’ 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.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.