Former Chilton County Resident Gets 14 Years for Attempting to Entice a Minor for Sex
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA— Steven Carl Ray, 48, has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, Leura G. Canary, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, announced today. A former resident of Plantersville, Alabama, Ray had previously pled guilty to the charge in March of this year pursuant to a written plea agreement. The crime for which he was convicted – a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b) – mandates a prison sentence of at least ten years.
Ray first came to the attention of Alabama law enforcement in April 2007, when he made contact with an internet user named “dad_w_daughter.” Unbeknownst to Ray, the screen name belonged to an undercover Yahoo account monitored and maintained by a detective with the Blountsville Police Department. During the course of the ensuing internet chat, Ray made arrangements to purchase oral, vaginal, and anal sex with the detective’s fictitious 10-year-old daughter, “Amanda,” at a price of fifty dollars per 30 minutes. Later the same evening, Ray traveled from Chilton County to Blount County to meet the girl and was promptly arrested. At the time of his arrest, Ray had with him two bags of stuffed animals, “Amanda’s” favorite candy bar, copies of “Amanda’s” favorite movie, four condoms and over $250 in small bills. Ray spontaneously admitted to officers that he was there to meet a 10-year-old girl.
In handing down the sentence of 14 years, the Honorable Mark E. Fuller, Chief United States District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama, rejected a request by the defense for the statutory minimum sentence. Addressing the defendant, Judge Fuller observed that “the only thing that kept a 10 year old from being abused in your case is the fact that one was not available.” As part of his sentence, and in accordance with the parties’ written plea agreement, Mr. Ray will spend the rest of his life on supervised release.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In May 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
The investigation of this case was conducted by agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, acting in concert with the Office of the Alabama Attorney General, the Blountsville Police Department, the Guntersville Police Department, the Snead Police Department, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nathan D. Stump.
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