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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html


JANUARY 14, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD


ILLINOIS MAN SENTENCED FOR SOLICITING A MINOR FOR SEX


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced an Illinois man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to entice an Eldon, Mo., minor to engage in sexual activity.


             Travis Lee Gerdt, 29, of Godfrey, Ill. was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Gerdt to forfeit to the government a computer, monitor, scanner and related equipment and a 35 mm camera, all of which were used to commit the offense.


             On Nov. 2, 2009, Gerdt pleaded guilty to attempting to entice a 13-year-old minor in Eldon to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Gerdt admitted that he solicited the minor for sex over the Internet and through the mail. Gerdt engaged in sexually explicit online chats with the minor, asked her to expose herself and mailed a package containing lingerie and sex toys to her home.


             This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the State Technical Assistance Team and the Division of Family Services.


Project Safe Childhood

            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 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html