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August 4, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


KNOXVILLE MAN IS SENTENCED TO 413 MONTHS FOR ENTICING A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD TO ENGAGE IN SEX

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — A Knox County man was sentenced on August 4, 2011, after pleading guilty to attempting to entice a 13-year-old child to engage in illegal sexual activity, being a registered sex offender when he attempted to entice a minor, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

David DeSmit, 53, of Knoxville, Tenn., was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, U.S. District Judge, to serve a term of 413 months in prison and supervised release for life. The Court also ordered that DeSmit's 2004 GMC pickup truck and computer be forfeited as instrumentalities of the crime.

This case began in August 2010, when DeSmit went to a female acquaintance’s Knox County residence where he met her 13-year-old grandson. DeSmit obtained the child’s cell phone number and began communicating with the child. One of the child’s parents identified DeSmit in a local publication that includes mug shots of sex offenders. The child’s parents searched the internet to verify that DeSmit was a registered sex offender, and notified law enforcement that he had contacted their son.

A Knoxville Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) officer began working in an undercover capacity, posing as the 13-year-old. Using his computer and cell phone, DeSmit initiated explicit sexual discussions with the person he believed to be a 13-year-old. In September 2010, DeSmit drove his 2004 GMC pickup truck to a local Knox County park to meet the child at a prearranged location. Instead, he was met by law enforcement officers, who arrested DeSmit on the scene.

This conviction is the result of a collaborative investigation by the Knoxville Police Department ICAC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Kirby represented the United States.

This case was part of the Department's Project Safe Childhood (PSC) program. PSC is a unified and comprehensive strategy to combat child exploitation. Initiated in May 2006, PSC combines law enforcement efforts, community action, and public awareness. The goal of PSC is to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children.

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