Manatee County Man Sentenced to More than 11 Years For Online Enticement of a Minor to Travel To Engage in Sexual Activity
Orlando, Florida, - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill and Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Sue McCormick announces that U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway yesterday sentenced Edward John Ranft (46, Bradenton) to 135 months in federal prison for online enticement of a minor to travel to engage in sexual activity. The court also ordered Ranft to forfeit the computer he used in committing the offense. As part of his sentence, the court ordered Ranft to serve a 10-year term of supervised release, after he completes his prison sentence. He was found guilty on October 3, 2011.
According to court documents, Ranft initiated contact, in an internet chat room, with an undercover agent whom he believed to be a 14 year-old girl. Over a period of two months or more, he chatted using graphic and explicit sexual language expressing his desire to engage in sexual activity with the girl whom he acknowledged was 14 years old. He instructed the perceived minor to remove her chat history from the computer to avoid detection and encouraged her to lie to her mother about their meeting. Ranft made final arrangements to meet with the 14 year-old in Brevard County and drove one hour and forty five minutes for the meeting . Upon arrival at his appointed destination, he was arrested.
"Child predators are some of the most heinous criminal offenders," said Sue McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of HSI in Tampa. "HSI works tirelessly to investigate these predators and make sure they are prosecuted for the crimes they commit."
This case was investigated by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Myrna Amelia Mesa.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov and click on the tab "other resources."