FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 9, 2012
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Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to the District of Columbia
WASHINGTON - John Vanathayan, 42, of Silver Spring, Md., pled guilty today to traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Vanathayan entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Amy Berman Jackson is to sentence him on Feb. 8, 2013. Vanathayan faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely sentencing range of 121 to 151 months in prison.
According to the government's evidence, on July 19, 2012, Vanathayan contacted a citizen on a telephone chat line. During the course of the conversation, the defendant requested that the citizen provide a female child, between the ages of six and nine, for the purpose of sex. The citizen agreed to try to comply with the request. Instead, the citizen contacted MPD and reported the communication. An MPD officer, along with FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, began to investigate. During the course of the investigation, Vanathayan arranged with the citizen to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a child. On July 20, 2012, the defendant traveled from Silver Spring to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When Vanathayan arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested.
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.
Project Safe Childhood is 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to 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 McJunkin and Chief Lanier praised the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Julieanne Himelstein, who is prosecuting the case.12-403