A 35 year-old man was sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to charges of using the internet to solicit a minor. The defendant received a sentence of 20 years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. During supervision, the man will be limited in his contact with minors and his use of computers. Additionally, he will have to register as a sex offender and receive sex offender treatment.
Authorities learned of the defendant’s activities when a nine-year-old girl’s father, who had known the defendant for years, found sexually explicit e-mails and chats from the defendant on a computer the girl used. The defendant and his wife had previously babysat the girl. Upon finding the explicit messages, the girl’s father notified the authorities and gave them copies of the messages.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent then posed as the nine-year-old girl to gather more evidence against the defendant. Assuming the girl’s online identity, the agent continued to communicate with the defendant and arranged a meeting. The defendant was arrested after traveling across state lines to the girl’s house. Authorities seized evidence of his intent to have sex with the girl from his automobile, including condoms and a digital camera.
This case demonstrates that law enforcement agencies have committed a large amount of resources in investigating on-line sex crimes and will patiently gather additional evidence against suspects before filing charges. The case was investigated and prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide law enforcement program launched in 2006. The program is a combination of state and federal law enforcement agencies formed to investigate individuals who allegedly exploit children over the internet.
Source: U.S. Federal News: Tigard Man Sentenced in Online Enticement Case Involving Nine-Year-Old Girl; 11/30/2010 (retrieved via www.Westlaw.com)