GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A man was sentenced to 19 years in prison and lifetime supervision on a charge of receiving child pornography.
Gene Legrand Hickman, Jr., 63, of Moore County, was sentenced today. According to court documents Hickman engaged in sexually explicit chats on Instagram with a 15-year-old boy and a second individual purporting to be a 14-year-old boy in February of 2018.
During one of the chats, Hickman said that he had engaged in sexual activity with children on multiple occasions. Hickman also favorably discussed the sexual abuse of young boys with another Instagram user who claimed to have sexually exploited children as well.
Facebook reported the conduct to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). A month later Facebook reported a second Instagram account used by Hickman to NCMEC because it contained child pornography.
After these reports, NCMEC issued CyberTipline reports about the accounts. The reports were routed to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
In June 2018, Moore County investigators executed a warrant at Hickman’s home and seized four devices that contained hundreds of child pornography files. Moore County investigators also obtained the contents of Hickman’s Instagram accounts.
The records revealed claims by Hickman that he molested multiple minors.
In December 2019, Moore County and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation investigators executed a second warrant at Hickman’s residence.
Investigators found Hickman’s unlocked phone and found Hickman had used an encrypted messaging application to send and receive child pornography files. Hickman admitted that he engaged in sexual activity
with a child on multiple occasions over a period of years.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation then took over the case for further investigation.