Maryland Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison For Coercing and Enticing a Minor
Defendant was arrested after attempting to persuade a 14-year-old to send sexually explicit photographs to him
WASHINGTON – Jonathan Willis, 37, of North Bethesda, Maryland, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for coercion and enticement of a minor. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Acting Special Agent in Charge Emily Odom, of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division.
Willis pleaded guilty on March 15, 2023, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. According to the government’s evidence, on March 31, 2022, the defendant began communicating with a 14-year-old minor victim who resided in Washington, D.C. using Snapchat. The defendant offered to pay the victim money in exchange for sexually explicit photographs. Over a two-week period, the defendant sent the fourteen-year-old girl multiple photos of his penis and of himself masturbating, and repeatedly asked her to come to his residence in Maryland to “make love.” The victim refused and reported the defendant’s communications to law enforcement. On May 12, 2022 and May 24, 2022, an undercover officer assumed the victim’s identity on Snapchat. On both occasions, the defendant requested sexually explicit photographs of the 14-year-old girl, sent her photos and videos of his penis, and attempted to persuade her to travel to Maryland for sexual activity.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Randolph D. Moss ordered 10 years of supervised release and ordered Willis to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Acting Special Agent in Charge Odom commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Youth Investigations Division. They also commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Burrell, who prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative. 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.