Albert Lea man sentenced to life for online child sexual exploitation

(ABC 6 News) – An Albert Lea man has been sentenced to life plus ten years in prison for engaging in sextortion and online sexual exploitation of minors. Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright sentenced the defendant.

According to court documents, in 2017, Travis Kyle Mayer, 33, downloaded and received child pornography from a Russian-based child pornography distribution website. In 2018, Mayer sexually exploited a 15-year-old girl, through persuasion and coercion, using her to produce child pornography, which he then possessed and distributed. Mayer committed these crimes while he was required to register as a sex offender, based on his prior conviction for attempted third degree criminal sexual conduct. Between June 20, 2019, and October 11, 2019, Mayer attempted to obstruct the administration of justice by requesting a witness to testify falsely regarding the child sexual exploitation investigation.

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Acting United States Attorney Charles J. Kovats stated: “For years, this defendant victimized children by sexually exploiting them. Despite prior criminal convictions, Mayer continued his pattern of predatory behavior by exploiting, extorting, coercing, and threatening his minor victims. A sentence of life in prison is justified and ensures that he will never again victimize another child.”

“There is no group of people more deserving of our diligent protection than children, and no offender more deserving of strong justice than one who blatantly targets those most vulnerable to exploitation. Whenever anyone repeatedly harms children and persists in those acts despite previous intervention, we will work hard for a severe sentence like the one levied today,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul. “The FBI will continue to do everything thing we can to ensure those who choose to harm our children face severe consequences, and their victims receive the justice they deserve.”

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On June 29, 2021, following a six-day trial, a federal jury convicted Mayer on two counts of production and attempted production of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of coercion and enticement of a minor, one count of committing a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender, and one count obstruction of justice.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Albert Lea Police Department, and the Albany (Oregon) Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander D. Chiquoine and Joseph H. Thompson.