News and Press Releases

Man Sentenced to over 10 Years in Prison for Using Cell Phone Text Messaging to Entice Teenage Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2009

Reno, Nev. – Terrance Hofus, 45, of Reno, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks to 130 months in federal prison and lifetime supervised release for using cell phone text messaging to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sex, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. A federal jury convicted Hofus of the charge last September.

In February 2008, two female eighth graders in Sparks, Nevada, sent text messages from their cell phones to a person they believed to be a 15-year-old male. The girls also sent nude photographs of themselves to this person from their cell phones. The next day, Hofus replied to the girls via text message indicating that he had received the nude photographs. Hofus and the girls exchanged sexually explicit text messages, and the girls initially thought they were communicating with the 15-year-old male. About two weeks later, the text messages from Hofus became threatening and harassing. Hofus told the juvenile victims that if they did not meet him for sexual activities, he would post the nude pictures of them on the Internet. One of the girls reported the threats to her school teacher, and they were later reported to the school police and the FBI. An FBI Agent assumed the identities of the juvenile victims and began cell phone communications with Hofus. Hofus continued to send sexually explicit text messages to the undercover FBI Agent who was posing as the victims, and Hofus was advised several times that he was communicating with a juvenile. In March 2008, Hofus was arrested by FBI Agents and Reno Police Department Officers across the street from a movie theater where he had agreed to meet one of the teenage girls for sex.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Washoe County School District Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald C. Rachow. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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