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Springfield, Ill. - A federal grand jury today returned an indictment that charges Ralph David Hathaway, 46, of New Canton, Ill., with transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activity and two counts of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Hathaway was previously charged in a criminal complaint filed in the Central District of Illinois. The complaint remained under seal pending Hathaway’s arrest.
On July 27, Hathaway was arrested in Troy, Mo., and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley P. Mensah in St. Louis. Hathaway has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and will be transported to Springfield, Ill., for arraignment.
The indictment alleges that Hathaway transported a minor from the state of South Carolina to Missouri on June 6, 2015, for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity. It also alleges that, in October 2013 and April 2014, Hathaway traveled from Illinois to South Carolina for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a person under 18 years of age.
If convicted, the statutory penalty is no less than 10 years in prison and up to life in prison.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield, Ill., San Francisco, Calif., Charleston, S.C., and St. Louis, Mo. divisions; the Pike County Illinois Sheriff’s Office; St. Charles County (Mo.) Cyber Crime Task Force; the Lincoln County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office; Horry County (S.C.) Police Department; San Mateo (Calif.) Police Department; and Daly City (Calif.) Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Yanz.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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 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.