News and Press Releases

Lackawanna County Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Internet Enticement of a Minor for Sex

May 16, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 20-year-old Jefferson Township man pleaded guilty today in federal court to using the internet and a cell phone to attempt to entice a 13-year-old minor to meet with him to have sex.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Sean Howells entered the guilty plea before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik. Howells admitted that he committed the offense between January 25, 2012, and February 8, 2012.

     Under the terms of the plea agreement, if it is accepted by the court, Howells will be sentenced to six years in prison. The plea agreement also requires Howells to undergo sex offender treatment and comply with sex offender registration requirements when he is released from prison.

     The charge against Howells resulted from an investigation by United States Postal Inspectors, the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, and Scranton Police.

     The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat 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

     The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.


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