CANADIAN RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY
TO TRAVELING TO U.S. TO ENGAGE
IN ILLEGAL SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A MINOR
A Canadian man pleaded guilty today to attempting to travel to the U.S. to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent Brian M. Moskowitz, ICE HSI.
Steven Eric Locher, 53, of Chatham, Ontario, pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court in Detroit today before Chief United States District Judge Gerald E. Rosen.
United States Attorney McQuade said, "Parents should be aware of the ways in which child predators use the Internet to target victims. This case demonstrates that these dangers are very real."
"This case shows the nexus between strong and effective border law enforcement and the safety of the public and in this instance our children," said Moskowitz. HSI will continue to aggressively target those engaged in this type of behavior."
According to court documents, Locher was arrested last August at the Marine City, Michigan, port of entry after he attempted to travel to visit a female he knew was a minor. The investigation revealed that Locher engaged in an online relationship with the minor being at 15 years of age. He admitted to agents that he had inappropriate sexual contact with the minor prior to his arrest. During his attempted Aug. 2011 visit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, searching his vehicle, found a note from the minor and were able to confirm her age and address. He was arrested following the search and has been in custody since that day.
Officers from the Marine City Police Department assisted with the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Hala Jarbou prosecuted the case for the United States.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com
Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by 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 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 http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.