News and Press Releases

Virginia beach Man Found Guilty of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Enticing a Minor To Engage in Sexual Activity, and Witness Tampering

March 5, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. - A federal jury today found Shawn F. Engle, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Gates County, N.C., guilty of multiple charges involving his successful attempts to lure two minor girls into having sexual relationships with him.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement. Engle is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12, 2010 by Senior United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar.

“This case represents every parent’s worst nightmare,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “It shows the dangers of talking with strangers online and why every young person and their parents need to take this issue very seriously. My Office is doing everything it can to protect young girls from sexual predators and ensure they are caught and are unable to prey on others.” 

After a four-day trial, Engle was found guilty of sexual exploitation of minor; three counts of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity; and nine counts of witness tampering.  He faces up to a maximum of life in prison, a fine of up to $3,250,000, and a lifetime of supervised release.

During 2008, Engle sought to enter into sexual relationships with two minor girls who lived outside Virginia.  At that time, Engle was 30 to 31 years of age, while the two minors were 13 and 17 years old, respectively.  After meeting both girls online, Engle mostly communicated with them by telephone text messaging until he sought physical contact with them.  During April 2008, Engle traveled from Virginia to Pennsylvania on two separate occasions to meet the 17-year-old minor.  On the second of these visits, Engle picked up the minor, provided her with alcohol, and encouraged and persuaded her to engage in sexual activity with him, which he videotaped.  After spending the weekend with the minor, Engle returned to Virginia Beach with the video camera and the sex tape.

During August 2008, Engle turned his attentions to the 13 year old minor from South Carolina.  At Engle’s prompting and after a family crisis, this minor decided to run away and requested that Engle pick her up.  Engle did so and brought her to Virginia Beach.  He then transported the minor to a relative’s home in Gates County, N.C., where the minor was found by Gates County authorities on Sept. 16, 2008.  Five weeks later, on Oct. 24, 2008, Virginia Beach police arrested Engle on a kidnapping warrant out of South Carolina and seized a video camera later found to contain the videotape showing Engle with the 17-year-old minor.  While detained in Virginia Beach, Engle learned of a federal investigation into his activities and called and wrote letters to one of the victims and various witnesses attempting to get them to lie about his involvement and activities with the two minors.  In a letter to the 13-year-old victim, Engle also wrote about past sexual activities that he engaged in with the minor, and attempted to induce her to engage in such activities in the future, upon his release from incarceration.

            This case was investigated by the FBI, the Virginia Beach Police Department, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gates County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Krask and Katherine Martin are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on



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