MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – A 54-year-old Wisconsin man was sentenced on Wednesday to several years in federal prison for using minors to engage in sexual activity and recording the activity.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, 54-year-old James C. Gibson from Fennimore was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Conley to 18 years in federal prison. He previously pleaded guilty to the charge on January 31, 2023.

Court documents show that in early November 2021, the mother of a minor born in 2010 contacted the Fennimore Police Department about inappropriate content she found on a phone that had been used by the minor.

The investigation revealed that Gibson had been regularly exchanging inappropriately affectionate messages with the minor.

James C. Gibson's mugshot. (City of Fennimore Police Department)
James C. Gibson’s mugshot. (City of Fennimore Police Department)

Law enforcement interviewed Gibson, who revealed that he previously had a video depicting child pornography on his phone. As a result, the officer seized Gibson’s phone and searched it after obtaining a warrant.

The search revealed that within Gibson’s phone were “sexually explicit images of the minor, and those of a second minor,” also born in 2010. In addition, the phone contained sexually explicit videos of unknown minors.

After finding these images of the known minors, law enforcement interviewed them, and both confirmed that Gibson took nude photos of them at his residence in Fennimore. According to one of the minors, Gibson took nude pictures of them from the summer of 2020 through September 2021.

During the sentencing, Judge Conley observed that Gibson groomed multiple 11 and 12-year-old children by using their interests to get close to them, showered them with gifts, and paid for their phone and phone plans.

Gibson coerced two into producing child pornography and sexually assaulted at least one of them. Judge Conley found that Gibson manipulated the victims and their families, leading to abhorrent abuse.

The charge against Gibson was the result of an investigation conducted by the Fennimore Police Department, with the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and the Office of the Grant County District Attorney.