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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Monday, December 19, 2016

District Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison For Sexually Abusing 11-Year-Old Girl

Defendant Met the Child Through Instagram

            WASHINGTON - Robert Kelsey, 29, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 50 years in prison for sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl he met through Instagram when he was 26 years old, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Interim Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), announced.

            Kelsey was found guilty by a jury on Aug. 29, 2016, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and first-degree child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. He was sentenced by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. Following his prison term, Kelsey will be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. Also, Kelsey, a convicted felon, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

            According to the government’s evidence, Kelsey met the girl during the summer of 2014 on Instagram, concealing his true identity, posing as a 19-year-old and using a fictitious name.  He suggested that they begin communicating by text via Kik Messenger.  He flirted with her and told her that he wanted to have sex with her.  On July 25, 2014, Kelsey arranged to pick up the girl from her summer camp, which was held at an elementary school in Bowie, Md.  He told the camp staff that he was the child’s cousin so that he could take her from camp early that day.

            Kelsey drove the victim to his house in Washington, D.C., where he sexually abused her, and then returned her to the vicinity of the camp. By that time, the victim’s father, who was at the camp to pick up his daughter, learned that she had been taken from the camp by a man, and the father summoned police.  The victim disclosed what happened and Prince George’s County, Md. Police began an investigation.  The case was referred to the Metropolitan Police Department, and an investigation by MPD and the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force led to Kelsey’s arrest.  DNA analysis of evidence obtained from a medical examination of the victim also linked Kelsey to the crime.

            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 Phillips, Assistant Director in Charge Abbate, and Interim Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD’s Youth Investigations Division.  They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department.  They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation; Elizabeth Trosman, Chief of the Appellate Division; Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Donovan; Victim/Witness Advocate Lezlie Richardson; Paralegal Specialists Joyce Arthur, Troy Griffith, and Tiffany Jones; Litigation Technology Specialists Aneela Bhatia and Anisha Bhatia, and Intern Wendy Acquazzino. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea L. Hertzfeld and Kenya Davis, who prosecuted the case.

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 19, 2016