News and Press Releases

New Jersey Man Sentenced to Nine Years for Travelling to Virginia to Have Sex with Minor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Royce DeWeese, 26, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for travelling to Virginia intending to have sex with a minor.  After fulfilling his sentence, he will serve a lifetime term of supervised release.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Scot R. Rittenberg of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Washington, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.

DeWeese pleaded guilty on September 13, 2013.  According to court documents, between March and May 2013, DeWeese communicated over the Internet with an undercover HSI agent about plans to travel to Fairfax, Virginia in order to engage in sexual activity with the undercover agent’s supposed 10-year-old daughter.  On May 14, 2013, DeWeese did travel from New Jersey to Fairfax, Virginia, where law enforcement arrested him.

The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Alicia J. Yass, a Trial Attorney with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division, is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.  HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form.  Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.  Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

The prosecution was 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 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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 http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

 

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