News and Press Releases

California Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Attempted Online Enticement, Transfer Of Obscene Material To A Minor, And Interstate Travel To Engage In Illegal Sex With A Minor

– Undercover online investigation resulted in arrest at Louisville coffee shop

October 19, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY – An Oceanside, California man entered guilty pleas in United States District Court and was sentenced this week, by Senior District Judge Thomas B. Russell, to 10 years in prison followed by a life term of Supervised Release for violating federal child exploitation laws, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

David Spear, age 38, pled guilty to all four counts of a grand jury indictment charging him with attempted online enticement of a minor, transfer of obscene material to a minor, and interstate travel to engage in illegal sex with a minor.

The Indictment alleged that on or about and between November 10 - 12, 2010, Spear, using a facility or means of interstate commerce, that is, wire communications over the Internet, attempted to knowingly persuade, induce, and entice an individual who had not attained the age of eighteen years to engage in sexual activity for which a person may be charged with a criminal offense. The Indictment charged Spear with two separate instances (occurring on November 10, 2010, and November 11, 2010), of using a facility and means of interstate commerce to knowingly attempt to transfer obscene matter to another individual who had not attained the age of 16 years, knowing that such other individual had not attained the age of 16 years. The final charge in the Indictment alleged that Spear knowingly traveled in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, the same person referenced in Counts 1-3.

According to an Affidavit filed by a Detective with the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit in support of a Criminal Complaint against Spear, law enforcement officials became aware of Spear’s criminal activity while conducting an undercover online investigation. On November 10, 2010, the Detective utilized an undercover profile on a social networking web site and Yahoo! messenger. On that same date at approximately 9:40 p.m., Spear, using the screen name “James123,” contacted the undercover profile via Yahoo! messenger. Spear stated that he was “35m, luville, pilot, how are u.” The Detective replied, “14 f Louisville.” During the course of the online communications, Spear directed the conversation to the topic of sexual activity and raised the issue of meeting in real life for sexual activity with the person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. The two agreed to meet at a local coffee shop on Friday evening November 12, 2010, and from there go to his hotel room.

That evening, detectives with the Louisville Metro Police Department observed a male walk from the hotel on Hurstbourne Lane to the coffee shop where Spear and the Detective had agreed to meet. The male was wearing the clothing he had previously discussed with the undercover Detective. Detectives conducted a felony arrest on David Spear. Spear gave detectives consent to search his hotel room, where they found a laptop and condoms. Law enforcement officials transported Spear to the Crimes Against Children Unit for an interview. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Spear waived those rights and admitted to being the person using the Yahoo! screen name “James123,” and engaging in the online communications. He also stated that he planned to have sexual acts with the 14-year-old girl and wrote an apology note to the girl’s mother.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless. The Louisville Metro Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit conducted the investigation as part of Kentucky’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Return to Top