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Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Attempting to Engage in Sex with a Minor and Child Pornography-Related Offenses

A registered sex offender with prior convictions for the possession of child pornography and attempted sexual conduct with minors was sentenced to 35 years in prison today for traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor and various child pornography-related offenses.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler of the Southern District of Indiana made the announcement.  U.S. District Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana imposed the sentence.  

John Alan Lewis, 65, of Lima, Ohio, was convicted in August 2014 following a three-day trial for traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, attempted production of child pornography, and transportation and possession of child pornography.

According to evidence presented at trial, Lewis met an individual online that he believed to be a 14 year-old girl.  The individual was actually an adult male registered sex offender from New York who was posing as a 14 year-old girl.  From November 2011 until May 2012, Lewis exchanged numerous images of a minor under the age of 12 engaging in sexually explicit conduct via email with that individual, still believing that he was communicating with a 14 year-old girl. 

Following the August 2012 arrest of the New York sex offender who was posing as the 14 year-old girl, law enforcement assumed the New York sex offender’s online profile and continued to communicate with Lewis.  In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Lewis engaged in a series of online chats with the purported 14 year-old girl, during which he discussed his plan to travel from Ohio to Indiana to take her to a motel to engage in sexual acts.  On Sept. 19, 2012, Lewis rented a car in Lima, Ohio, and drove to Plainfield, Indiana, to meet with the girl.  He was arrested when he arrived at the agreed upon meeting location. 

At the time of his arrest, Lewis had three electronic devices, each of which contained images depicting a minor, between the ages of 10 and 12, fully nude and engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

This case was investigated by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Indiana State Police Cyber Crime Unit, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is made up of federal and state law enforcement agencies.  The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Amy E. Larson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota of the Southern District of Indiana. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children assisted the investigation by providing information to the Indianapolis Police Department, which led to the identification of a minor child victim in Indiana.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and 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 http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

Press Release Number: 
Updated November 19, 2014