AUGUSTA, Ga. - The southern district of Georgia's federal court has sentenced 21-year-old Keyshawn Omar Cooper from Waynesboro to 16 years in prison after he admitted to coercing a child to produce sexually explicit images.

Cooper pleaded guilty to production of child pornography in 2021. According to a statement by the Department of Justice, police in Cape Girardeau, Mo. enlisted the help of the FBI after the victim's mother learned Cooper had persuaded the 11-year-old to "engage in explicit conduct for the purpose of creating visual depictions that the victim then sent to Cooper."

The FBI's investigation, says the DOJ statement, "determined that the child and Cooper met online while playing the 'Grand Theft Auto' video game, and Cooper pretended to be a young girl to persuade the child to send sexually explicit photos." 

Investigators also found images of other children in a phone seized from Cooper.

“The internet is a very important and useful resource, but unfortunately can also be used for illegal activity as criminals like Cooper seek to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” said Brian Ozden, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Let this be a reminder to parents and caregivers, people can pretend to be anyone online, and you need to remain vigilant with monitoring your child’s online gaming activity and educating them about the risks of communicating with strangers.”

Cooper will be required to pay $3000 in restitution and to serve 15 years of supervised release. He will register as a sex offender. There is no parole in federal prison.