FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 22, 2013
For Information Contact:
Virginia 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 – William G. VanSant, 51, of Alexandria, Va., 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).
VanSant entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins is to sentence him on Dec. 4, 2013. VanSant 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 of imprisonment for possession of child pornography, as well as a fine of $250,000 on each count. 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 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 Cassidy Kesler Pinegar, who is prosecuting the case.