Thursday, December 1, 2022

Local soccer referee charged with producing child porn

Justin Travis Taylor, 25 (WYDaily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)
Justin Travis Taylor, 25 (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

A soccer referee was arrested Thursday and charged with producing child pornography after authorities discovered he was allegedly soliciting nude photos from a 13-year-old from Washington state.

Federal authorities believe 25-year-old Justin Travis Taylor, of Newport News, was communicating with a 13-year-old on Snapchat and Instagram, where he requested and sent nude and lewd images and videos, according to federal court documents.

“Mr. Justin Taylor is a member of our association,” Don Reese, secretary for the Peninsula Soccer Officials Association, wrote in an email. “Once we learned of the charges we removed him from all future games and will not assign him any games in the future pending the outcome of his legal actions.”

The association is based on the Virginia Peninsula and referees youth and adult soccer games across Hampton Roads.

Taylor allegedly first began talking with a 13-year-old, identified in court papers as “Jane Doe 1,” in May 2018.

Jane Doe 1 told Taylor she was 13 and in eighth grade and Taylor initially told the teen he was 15 but later admitted he was 25, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Authorities said law enforcement found multiple online accounts registered to Taylor and Jane Doe 1. During one exchange, Taylor allegedly asked Jane Doe 1 to send him videos of her masturbating.

When she refused, he threatened to kill himself, authorities said.

After months of communication, the child’s mother reported the exchanges in February 2019 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the news release.

Federal court records show a criminal complaint was filed against Taylor Wednesday.

Taylor appeared in court Thursday for an initial hearing in the child pornography case — he asked to be represented by an attorney.

Taylor is temporarily detained by the U.S. Marshals Service, and is scheduled for a detention hearing and preliminary hearing at 3 p.m. Sept. 17.

If Taylor is convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison, authorities said.

Those who may have information regarding the pending prosecution should contact the FBI’s Norfolk Division at 757-455-0100, or submit an online tip on the FBI tip line. Identified victims may be eligible for certain services and rights under federal and/or state law.

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