Smiths Station man with multiple child sex charges sentenced in federal court to 38 years

A Smiths Station, Alabama man charged with multiple allegations related to sex crimes against children ages 2 through 14 is headed to federal prison.

Brandon Thomas Hart, 33, has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for sexually exploiting two children and sharing explicit images of minors through a messaging app called Kik, authorities said Tuesday.

Alabama investigators got involved in the case in September 2020 when authorities in Dallas, Texas saw sexually explicit images that appeared to depict minors on Kik, officials said.

FBI agents in Texas traced the Kik messages to Smiths Station, identifying Hart as a suspect, and seeking assistance from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release.

The search

On Sept. 22, 2020, the sheriff’s office served a search warrant on Lee Road 560 in Smiths Station, arresting Hart on a range of sex crimes against children, including allegations of rape, sodomy, voyeurism, sexual abuse, sexual torture, and child pornography, investigators said.

Hart’s bond eventually was set at more than $2 million as the charges piled up, the sheriff’s office said in a Sept. 28, 2020, news release. Those state charges still are pending, authorities said.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office provided this list of those state counts Tuesday evening:

  • Producing pornography with minors, 21 counts.

  • First-degree sodomy, 20 counts.

  • Possessing child pornography, seven counts.

  • Sexual torture, four counts.

  • First-degree sexual abuse, three counts.

  • Sexual Abuse of children younger than 12, three counts.

  • First-degree voyeurism, three counts.

  • First-degree rape, one count.

The federal plea

Hart pleaded guilty in federal court in Montgomery this past June 29, admitting that he induced two minors “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for him to photograph,” according to a statement Tuesday from U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.

He also acknowledged he recorded explicit images of the two minors while they unconscious and shared the images on Kik, the prosecutor said.

A federal judge sentenced him on Friday. Upon serving his federal sentence, Hart will be on supervised release for the rest of his life, and will have to register as a sex offender, the feds said.