News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

texas man sentenced to 24 years in prison
for illicit sex with a child

October 24, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Houston, Texas man has been sentenced in federal court for traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor.

John Paul Gamage, 22, of Houston, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2012, to 24 years and five months in federal prison without parole. Gamage was also sentenced to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration.

On June 21, 2012, Gamage pleaded guilty to traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor. Gamage admitted that he traveled from Houston to Stone County, Mo., in order to engage in illicit sexual contact with an 11-year-old victim. During his stay in Missouri, Gamage admitted, he also sexually assaulted a nine-year-old victim.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, the Houston Metro Police Department and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Project Safe Childhood

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."

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