BLAND COUNTY, Va. – A 42-year-old man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for engaging in and filming his sexual activity with two minors.
William Dean Blankenship, of Bland County, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty in September to 17 counts of production of child pornography and one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.
On February 12, 2021, authorities executed a state search warrant at his home after receiving information that he had engaged in sexual acts with children and was in possession of child pornography.
When authorities searched his cell phone, they found more than 50 videos of child pornography that he made showing him engaging in sexual intercourse with two minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Further investigation revealed that Blankenship routinely coerced and enticed the two to engage in sexual activity with Blankenship, and with one another, after he gave them drugs and other controlled substances.
He started this process with them when they were about 13 and 14 years old, according to the Department of Justice.
Law enforcement also located a firearm in the defendant’s home.
“Today’s lengthy sentence shows the commitment of the Department of Justice to protecting children from the type of abuse and coercive exploitation this defendant exhibited over several years,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “My Office will continue to investigate and prosecute all those who prey on our most vulnerable victims. I am grateful to the work of the Department of Homeland Security and the Virginia State Police for their work on this case.”
“Now, Mr. Blankenship will begin to pay for the horrific atrocities he committed,” said Ray Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington, D.C. “This sentencing serves as another example to anyone who seeks to victimize our children, that we will work tirelessly to bring them to justice. HSI was proud to have partnered the Virginia State Police, as well as the Bland County and Giles County Sheriff’s Offices on this case.”