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Ypsilanti man faces federal charges for child pornography years after similar conviction

A 44-year-old man faces multiple charges related to child pornography following federal investigation

Frank Leon Stapleton, 44, faces multiple child pornography charges in June 2020 after being released from prison for a similar conviction in 2015. Photo sourced from the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.
Frank Leon Stapleton, 44, faces multiple child pornography charges in June 2020 after being released from prison for a similar conviction in 2015. Photo sourced from the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A 44-year-old man from Washtenaw County is facing child pornography charges nearly four years after being released from prison for a similar conviction.

An agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday against Frank Stapleton of Ypsilanti. According to the complaint Stapleton was found to have been texting with minors, encouraging them to send sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves.

The complaint lists several examples of communication between Stapleton and minors, including conversations with two separate young girls, both 9 years old, a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy.

Stapleton sent messages to the girls requesting them to provide illicit media to help him masturbate, sending messages like “let me see your sexy body,” “please send me hot videos,” and “you are so hot,” the complaint alleges. Both girls are said to have sent nude photos and/or videos under Stapleton’s coercion.

According to the complaint Stapleton’s conversation with the 11-year-old boy was similar, in addition to sending explicit media of others to the boy. Stapleton is said to also have sent explicit images of himself to the boy.

During an interview Stapleton admitted to contacting a “double digit” number of children, both boys and girls, requesting them to produce and send pictures of themselves naked and masturbating, officials said. Stapleton also reportedly admitted to saving these photos and sending them to other children.

Officials say Stapleton admitted that he finds children’s phone numbers on posts on YouTube. The man said he would communicate with a child for a few days, get bored and move on to another, the complaint reads.

Under the criminal complaint Stapleton has been charged with using and enticing a minor to produce child pornography, coercing and enticing a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, possessing child pornography and transferring obscene material to a minor.

Stapleton -- a registered sex offender -- was previously convicted of two counts of possession of child pornography in 2013 and was released from prison in 2015. He is slated to remain under federal supervised release until July 2020, officials said.

Officials say the man currently works in Ann Arbor but did not provide more details.

You can read the full criminal complaint submitted Tuesday by the HSI in Detroit against Stapleton below.

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