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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Indiana Man Sentenced to 66 Years in Prison for Child Sexual Exploitation, Travel to Illinois to Engage in Exploitation

URBANA, Ill. – A Crawfordsville, Ind., man has been ordered to serve 66 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of a child and travelling to Vermilion county, Ill., to engage in sexual activity with a minor. On May 14, Nehemiah Lafoe, 23, was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of 22 years for a total sentence of 66 years in federal prison. Upon release from prison, Lafoe was ordered to remain on supervised release for life. Lafoe has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on Sept. 27, 2017.

On Jan. 16, 2018, Lafoe pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Lafoe admitted that in June 2017, on two occasions, he enticed a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce an image of the conduct and to transmit the image in interstate commerce. Lafoe further admitted that on May 23, 2017, he traveled from Indiana to Illinois for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a minor.   According to documents filed with the court, Lafoe communicated with the minor through a popular social networking application.

Lafoe is the fourth defendant sentenced for child exploitation and child pornography offenses since early April in federal court in Urbana. The four unrelated cases were investigated by the FBI and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson prosecuted the cases.  

Three east central Illinois men, also charged as the result of investigations led by the FBI, have been sentenced for child pornography crimes as follows:

Gary F. Beals, 44, of Trilla, in Coles county, sentenced April 13, to 60 months (five years) in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. On Oct. 24, 2017, Beals pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography, and has remained in custody since his June 28, 2017, arrest. 

Michael J. Mann, 47, of Momence, in Kankakee county, sentenced April 9, to 121 months (10 years, 1 months) in prison for distributing, receiving, and possessing child pornography. Following Mann’s prison term, he was ordered to remain on supervised release for 15 years. In December 2017, Mann entered a plea of guilty to the indictment, and has remained in custody since his Aug. 4, 2017, arrest.

Joshua L. Hazelbaker, 41, of Fithian, a rural Vermilion county community, sentenced April 6, to 126 months (10 years, 6 months) in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for receiving and possessing child pornography. Hazelbaker pleaded guilty to the charges on June 22, 2017, and has remained in custody since he was arrested on Nov. 16, 2016.

The cases were 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 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 15, 2018