News and Press Releases

Lackawanna County Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Attempting to Entice a Minor for Sex

October 16, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 19-year-old Jefferson Township resident was sentenced Monday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik to serve 72 months in prison for attempting to entice a minor to have sex.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the defendant, Sean Howells, previously pleaded guilty to using a computer to attempt to persuade and entice a 12-year-old girl to meet him for sex. The offense occurred in January and February of 2012. Howells was arrested after traveling to meet a 12-year-old girl at a prearranged location. When Howells was apprehended he admitted to intending to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.

     Howells was charged in an Information filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in April 2012, as a result of an investigation by U.S. Postal Inspectors, the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, and Scranton Police.

     Judge Kosik also ordered that Howells be placed on supervised release for 10 years after serving his prison sentence, and pay a $500 fine and a special assessment of $100. Howells will also be required to register as a sex offender and comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

     This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

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


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