News and Press Releases

Man Who Solicited Sex from Minors on "myspace" Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2011

Las Vegas, Nev. – A Henderson man who used the internet site MySpace to prey on minor girls and entice them into having sex with him, was sentenced today to 14 years in federal prison and lifetime supervised release, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. Scott Vernon, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward C. Reed. Vernon pleaded guilty on June 2, 2011, to one count of coercion and enticement of a minor.

"Sex offenders routinely use the internet to stalk and prey on minors," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "As this case demonstrates, it is critical that parents monitor their children's internet use to ensure that these predators are reported to authorities and stopped before they can harm a victim."

According to the court records, on May 28, 2010, Vernon sent a friend request message through MySpace to a 13-year-old girl. Vernon's MySpace account profile stated he was only 17 years old, when he was actually 25. The girl's mother noticed the message and accepted Vernon's friend request. When it became evident that Vernon was pursuing her daughter for sex, the mother contacted the Henderson Police Department. A detective then posed as the 13-year-old and began communicating with Vernon through a Yahoo messenger account. Vernon asked about the girl's sexual experience and asked if they could meet somewhere to have oral sex. Vernon also asked the girl to provide a sexy picture of herself. A meeting was set up between the undercover detective and Vernon at a local park on June 3, 2010. When Vernon showed up for the meeting, he was arrested. Vernon admitted that he created the MySpace account solely for targeting underage females. Vernon estimated he met approximately 20 minor girls on MySpace, but stated that only two of them had performed oral sex on him. When investigators searched Vernon's residence and laptop computer, they recovered hundreds of online chats with numerous minor girls.

The investigation was conducted by the Henderson Police Department, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy J. Koppe.

The 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 U.S. Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the U.S. Department of Justice, 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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