Virginia Man Sentenced To 70 Months In Prison For Traveling To Engage In Illicit Sexual Conduct With A Minor And Possession Of Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – William G. VanSant, 51, of Alexandria, Va., was sentenced today to 70 months in prison on 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).
VanSant pled guilty to the charges in August 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins. Upon completion of his prison term, VanSant will be placed on 10 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for at least 15 years after his release from prison.
According to the government's evidence, on March 20, 2013, VanSant contacted an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, who had posted a message on a website that is frequented by individuals who have a sexual interest in children. Over the next two days, Vansant continued to engage in online conversations with the undercover officer, whom he believed was the father of an under-aged girl. During this period, VanSant arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the child.
In addition, during the course of their communications, VanSant sent the undercover officer several images of child pornography. On March 22, 2013, VanSant traveled from Virginia to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived, he was arrested.
Pursuant to a warrant, VanSant’s residence was searched on March 28, 2013. Law enforcement seized two laptop computers, including one that contained seven videos and eight images depicting child pornography.
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 sentence, 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 expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Connelly, of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassidy Kesler Pinegar, who prosecuted the case.