Delaware Man Pleads Guilty To Traveling Into The District Of Columbia To Engage In Illicit Sexual Conduct With A Minor And Possession Of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – James Powell, 48, of Bridgeville, Del., pled guilty today to federal charges of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Powell entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Reggie B. Walton is to sentence him on July 11, 2013. Powell faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years of imprisonment for traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct and a maximum of 20 years and a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment for possession of child pornography, as well as fines of up to $250,000 on each count.
According to the government's evidence, on Sept. 10, 2012, Powell contacted an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, who had entered a social network site frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children. Over the next few days, the defendant engaged in online e-mail, instant message, and text message conversations with the undercover officer, whom the defendant believed was the father of an under-aged girl. During this period of time, Powell arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the child. During the course of their communications, Powell also sent the undercover officers two images of child pornography.
On Sept. 12, 2012, Powell traveled from Delaware to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested. He has been in custody ever since.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.