News and Press Releases

Crime Uncovered when Girl Mistakenly Took Plane to Washington D.C.

January 25, 2007

JOHN LEONARD YOUNG, 46, of Coupeville, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and five years of supervised release for Using the Internet to Entice a Minor to Travel for Illegal Sexual Activity. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly said, “this crime is very serious. The victim may never be the same, you’ve taken her innocence away.” Judge Zilly said he was also very concerned about some 100 images of child pornography the FBI found on YOUNG’s computer.

In late 2004 and early 2005 YOUNG communicated over the internet with a 14-year-old girl who lived in the Chicago area. The girl met YOUNG in an internet chat room. Over a two week period the two communicated both over the internet and by telephone. YOUNG’s communication with the girl included bold, detailed discussions about sex. YOUNG used a business credit card to pay for a plane ticket for the girl to travel to Seattle to be with him. The travel was to take place on January 21, 2005. YOUNG urged the girl to remove the hard drive from her computer so that after she left her parent’s home, she would be more difficult to find. Instead of waiting until January 21, 2005, to travel, the girl went to the airport on January 12th, and using her own money bought a ticket to the wrong Washington. Metropolitan Washington Airport Police contacted the FBI, after the girl arrived at Dulles Airport, upset that she had meant to fly to Seattle, but had wound up in Washington D.C.

After contacting the girl’s parents, FBI agents continued to investigate and recovered some of the communications from the girl’s computer. A court authorized search of YOUNG’s home and computers revealed not only his communications with the girl, but child pornography as well.

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings.

This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit"

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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