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NextImg:Chicago-area man gets 18 years after soliciting nude photos from a 14- and 5-year-old online

A Chicago-area man was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison Wednesday for soliciting a 14-year-old girl to send him sexually explicit images of herself and her younger sister, who was 5 years old at the time, among other child pornography-related crimes.

Brandon Hanahan, a 26-year-old Bridgeview resident, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges related to possessing child pornography and soliciting the material from the minors. The offenses started when he was 19 years old.

During an investigation, law enforcement officials found more than 200 images of child pornography and several videos on Hanahan’s devices, including some depicting children as young as age 4. 

Hanahan started messaging the 14-year-old on Instagram in June 2016, at one point asking, “Did you get pictures of your little girl?” referencing the younger of the two minors. After receiving several pictures of both of them, he asked for more pictures of the younger minor the next day. The two children complied.

For six months, the older of the two minors sent dozens pictures and videos to Hanahan in addition to texting and video calling with him on Skype. Hanahan also sent the minor other child pornography and sexually explicit pictures of himself, later describing his attraction to children as young as 6 and incest to the older minor, according to sentencing documents. 

An investigation was started after the older minor was found threatening suicide outside a 7-Eleven in California, who then told first responders about her conversations with Hanahan. A search warrant was executed in June 2017 where several devices were taken by law enforcement agencies, which were later confirmed to have more than 200 images and videos of child pornography. 

Hanahan admitted to everything that had gone on with the minors, though he wasn’t charged at the time. 

Homeland Security took over the investigation in April 2018, and a month later were tipped off that an account tied to Hanahan was posting child pornography on Instagram again. 

Another search was conducted at his home in Bridgeview — where law enforcement took the phone Hanahan had bought after his last was taken as evidence — and found he had continued to send and receive child pornography on the social media site Tumblr, including bragging to one user that he’d had sex with a 13-year-old, according to sentencing documents. 

Hanahan originally faced five charges, but pleaded down to two counts in February that carry a maximum sentence of 50 years. 

In sentencing documents, Hanahan’s lawyer noted he had never attempted to meet with the children, in addition to his age and drug use at the time, when asking for the mandatory minimum of 15 years with supervision after his release. He has spent nearly five years in home confinement while the case worked through the courts.

“Although those experiences undoubtedly left Hanahan scarred and in need of services, they still do not excuse his own behavior,” prosecutors wrote in sentencing documents. “Hanahan’s history and predatory characteristics show that he exploited children and doubled down on his commitment to his sexual predation when he got caught. While he has no criminal history, in no way was Hanahan’s behavior a one-time lapse in judgment.”

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