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Watseka Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Interstate Travel to Engage in Sex with a Juvenile

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2007

Urbana, Ill. – A Watseka, Illinois man, Michael Baker, age 23, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Michael P. McCuskey to 97 months imprisonment for interstate travel to engage in sex with a juvenile.

Baker pled guilty to the offense and was taken into custody in January 2007. According to court documents, Baker traveled to Wisconsin on October 8, 2005, where he met a teenaged girl he had been communicating with via the Internet. Baker drove the girl and two of her teenaged friends back to his home in Watseka. Baker admitted that the next day, October 9, 2006, he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with the girl with whom he had been communicating, a minor under age 18. Later in the day, Baker and a friend drove the girls back to their home in Wisconsin.

The case was investigated under Project Safe Childhood by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with assistance from the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department, Iroquois County State’s Attorney’s Office, Waterford, Wisconsin Police Department and Racine County, Wisconsin Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass.

The nationwide Project Safe Childhood initiative is designed to protect children from online 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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