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Tennessee Man Charged with Enticement of a Minor and Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct

March 7, 2012

Urbana, Ill. – A federal grand jury today charged Joseph Cain Harrison, 34, of Nashville, Tenn., with enticement of a minor and two counts of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. According to the indictment, under state and federal law, the defendant was required to register as a sex offender during the time he allegedly committed a felony offense involving a minor. Further, the indictment seeks criminal forfeiture of telephone and computer equipment used in the commission of the alleged offenses.

The indictment alleges that from July 1, 2011, to Jan. 20, 2012, Harrison used the Internet and a cellular telephone to entice an individual whom he believed to be 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity. The indictment alleges that Harrison traveled from Nashville, Tenn., to Champaign, Ill., on two occasions, Jan. 13, 2012, and Jan. 17, 2012, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

If convicted, for enticement of a minor, the statutory penalty is no less than 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. For each count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, the penalty is up to 30 years in prison; however, if a defendant has a prior qualifying sex conviction, the maximum penalty for this offense is 60 years in prison. For a sex offender who commits a felony offense involving a minor, the penalty is 10 years in prison served consecutive to imprisonment for the felony offense.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Springfield, Ill., and Nashville, Tenn., divisions; the Champaign Police Department; and the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department Sex Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson with the cooperation of the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Harrison was arrested on state charges in Tennessee on Jan. 20, 2012, and remains in law enforcement custody.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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