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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Ohio Man Sentenced in Animal Crushing and Child Sexual Abuse Material Case After HSI Cleveland Investigation

Ohio Man Sentenced in Animal Crushing and Child Sexual Abuse Material Case After HSI Cleveland Investigation

Release Date: May 30, 2024

TOLEDO, Ohio — Lucas Russell Vanwoert, 27, of Celina, was sentenced May 30 to 97 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release for possession and transportation of child sexual abuse material, transportation of obscene materials and creating an animal crush video following a Homeland Security Investigations Cleveland (HSI) investigation.

Vanwoert was also ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution and is banned from owning or possessing any animals, to include service animals, for life.

According to court documents, on Aug. 28, 2022, Vanwoert created and intended to distribute an animal crush video. An animal crush video is defined as any photograph, motion picture, film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that depicts actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury or bestiality and is obscene.

On Sept. 26, 2022, authorities executed a search warrant at Vanwoert’s residence in Celina and seized several electronic devices that were later found to contain videos of child sexual abuse, which involved prepubescent children, as well as animal crush videos.

Ultimately, it was discovered that Vanwoert sexually abused, tortured and killed at least four dogs and shared videos of his crimes with multiple individuals around the world.

“These crimes against animals and the possession of child sex abuse material are at a dangerous crossroads of targeting the vulnerable and the defenseless,” said HSI Detroit acting Special Agent in Charge Jared Murphey. “I am extremely proud of our HSI special agents and support personnel who along with our partners relentlessly pursued justice in this case. This predator’s crimes are grim and reprehensible, and the community is safer with him behind bars.”

This investigation was conducted by agents with HSI Detroit’s Cleveland and Grand Rapids suboffices with assistance from HSI Canberra, the Australian Northern Territory Police, the DHS Cyber Crimes Center, HSI Boston, HSI Cincinnati, HSI Columbus, the HSI Detroit Special Response Team, HSI Knoxville, HSI Phoenix, the Ohio ICAC task force, the Mercer County (OH) Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio SPCA. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Al-Sorghali and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler.

To learn more about HSI Detroit’s mission to keep communities in Michigan and Ohio safe, follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIDetroit.

Last Updated: 05/30/2024
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