west virginia man indicted by federal grand jury for traveling to alaska with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a 9 year-Old girl
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting United States Attorney Kevin Feldis announced today that a West Virginia man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage, for interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of twelve.
According to a criminal complaint filed on May 6, 2011, Homeland Security Investigations arrested Thomas Daniel Niswander, 65, after Niswander traveled on May 5, 2011, from his residence in Princeton, West Virginia, to Anchorage, Alaska, with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a 9 year-old girl. The complaint states that a Homeland Security Investigations agent came into contact with Niswander on the Internet where Niswander was soliciting information about traveling to Cambodia.
United States Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith arraigned Niswander on May 18, 2011, for the one-count indictment and Niswander entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. Niswander was ordered detained following his arraignment, and his trial in federal court is scheduled for July 5, 2011, before Senior United States District Judge H. Russel Holland.
Assistant United States Attorney Kyle G. French, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 years, and a maximum sentence
of life in prison, and total fines up to $250,000. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case with the assistance of the Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better identify, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.