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Press Release

Delaware Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Traveling Into The District Of Columbia To Engage In Illicit Sexual Conduct With A Minor And Possession Of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

     WASHINGTON – James Powell, 49, of Bridgeville, Del., was sentenced on Oct. 1, 2013, to 10 years in prison on federal charges of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

     Powell pled guilty to the charges in April 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. Powell was convicted in Prince George’s County, Maryland in 1997 of third-degree sexual abuse in a case that involved a child and was therefore subject to a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. Following completion of his prison term, Powell will be placed on 20 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years after his prison term.

     According to the government's evidence, on Sept. 10, 2012, Powell contacted an undercover officer with the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, who had entered a social network site frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children.  Over the next few days, Powell engaged in online e-mail, instant message, and text message conversations with the undercover officer, whom Powell believed was the father of an under-aged girl. During this period of time, Powell arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with the child.  During the course of their communications, Powell also sent the undercover officers two images of child pornography. 

     On Sept. 12, 2012, Powell traveled from Delaware to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C.  When he arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested. He has been in custody ever since.

     This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD.  In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

     In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave and Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agent of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who prosecuted the case.


Updated February 19, 2015