Brandon Meredith Hardy, the 21-year-old aviator who drove his vehicle from his duty station at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, GA, to a residence in St Augustine expecting to meet a “child” to engage in sex, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison and a 15-year term of supervised release.
United States District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan also ordered Hardy to register as a sex offender and forfeit his computer media.
On April 28, 2011, after Hardy rang the doorbell at the local residence, he was arrested by deputies with the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
A search of Hardy’s vehicle revealed, among other things, a laptop computer containing a photograph depicting child pornography and a bottle of personal lubricant.
According to testimony and evidence introduced during trial, from April 23, 2011 through April 28, 2011, Hardy engaged in a series of online conversations with a person whom he believed to be a 12-year old child.
Unbeknownst to Hardy, this “child” was actually an undercover officer with the Florida Attorney General’s Child Predator Cybercrime Unit. During the course of the online conversations, Hardy attempted to entice and persuade the “child” to engage in sexual activity and arranged to meet the “child.”
Hardy was found guilty in March 2012, after a jury trial.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the former Child Predator Cybercrime Unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.