U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 7, 2013
New Jersey Sex Offender Sentenced to Life Plus 10 Years in Federal Prison
Donald J. Jones III traveled to Rhode Island in April 2011 to engage
in sexual acts with an eight-year-old girl
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Donald J. Jones, III, 48, of Pemberton, N.J., was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to life plus 10 years in federal prison, having been convicted at trial by a federal court jury in Providence, R.I., in May 2012, on charges of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual acts with a minor, aggravated sexual assault, enticement of a minor, and distribution of child pornography. Jones was previously convicted on three occasions in the state of New Jersey for crimes against children, including child pornography and aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of thirteen.
Jones was arrested by federal agents and the Rhode Island State Police on April 8, 2011, after he traveled by bus from Philadelphia to Providence, expecting to meet with an eight-year-old girl and her father. Jones communicated for nearly three weeks via the Internet and by phone with a person he believed was the girl’s father, when in fact he was communicating with federal agents assigned to the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Jones’ sentence was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Kevin M. Niland, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “As prosecutors, we have no higher calling than to aid parents in protecting their children. Accordingly, I am very pleased with the life sentenced handed down today, which ensures that a remorseless, recidivist pedophile has been brought to justice. Spending the rest of his life in prison ensures that he will never, ever harm another child.”
Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police said, "In addition to preventing this particular pedophile from further targeting any more children, a life sentence sends a clear message to others that may choose to follow in the same path he did.” Colonel O’Donnell added, “I commend the prosecutors, troopers, local police and federal agents for their continued vigilance in tracking, arresting and prosecuting those who prey on our children.”
Kevin M. Niland, U.S. Postal Service Inspector in Charge added, "A life sentence demonstrates the serious consequence that awaits those who sexually exploit innocent children. The Postal Inspection Service will continue to aggressively identify, target, and arrest those who dare prey on our children."
"Today's life sentence demonstrates the serious consequences that await those who would sexually prey upon and exploit children," said Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "Criminals with this kind of depravity in mind should know that we are ever vigilant. For every tactic taken to evade law enforcement, we will adapt our strategies to find them and prosecute them. Through our partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island, HSI will continue to police cyber space to investigate child predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law."
According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, on March 21, 2011, Jones posted a message on an adult Internet forum seeking a parent willing to allow him to have sex with their pre-pubescent child. The message was discovered by a postal inspector assigned to the RI ICAC who responded, posing as the father of an eight-year-old Rhode Island girl.
Jones and the agent exchanged numerous emails which evolved from the parent purporting to have an interest in allowing Jones to have sex with his daughter, to Jones at first describing and then emailing videos of child pornography in an effort to depict his intentions. They also had numerous telephone conversations, including conversations during which a female Providence Police officer posed as the young girl.
The government presented evidence to the jury that Jones purchased clothing for the young girl and mailed them to the person he believed to be her father. Jones also purchased and brought with him a nightgown and underwear for the young girl to wear.
On April 8, 2011, federal agents watched as Jones boarded a bus in Philadelphia and traveled to New York and then on to Rhode Island. Jones was arrested by federal and state law enforcement agents as he stepped off the bus in downtown Providence.
According to the State of New Jersey sex offender registry, Donald J. Jones, III is a level two child sex offender, convicted in 1993 on charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Both offenses were against a female under the age of 13. Jones was sentenced today to a consecutive 10 year federal prison sentence for committing a new sex offender crime while being required to register as a sex offender.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen G. Dambruch and Leslie J. Kane.
Providence Police, agents from ICE-Homeland Security Investigations in New Jersey and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the investigation.
The Rhode Island State Police ICAC Task Force is a Department of Justice grant-funded program administered by the state police, and is comprised of six State Police detectives, detectives from the Providence, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick, Johnston, and Pawtucket Police Departments, and federal agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the United States Postal Inspectors’ Office. The objective of the ICAC is to form strong working relationships among federal, state and local law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.
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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
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