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Press Release

Virginia Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison For Traveling To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct With a Minor

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

            WASHINGTON – David Johnston, 62, of Fredericksburg, Va., has been sentenced to nine years in prison for traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Johnston pled guilty to the charge in November 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  He was sentenced on Feb. 28, 2018, by the Honorable John D. Bates. Upon completion of his prison term, Johnston will be placed on 15 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years.

            According to the government's evidence, on Jan. 22, 2017, Johnston contacted an undercover officer with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, through a social network site. Over the next several days, Johnston engaged in e-mail and text-messaging conversations with the undercover officer. During the course of these conversations, Johnston arranged with the undercover officer to meet for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with a female who was a minor.  On Jan. 31, 2017, Johnston traveled from Virginia to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C.  When he arrived, he was arrested. He has been in custody ever since.

           During the sentencing proceedings, the government noted that, in 1990, the defendant pled guilty at an Air Force court martial proceeding to one count of committing indecent acts upon the body of a female under 16 years of age.

           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 Liu, Assistant Director in Charge Vale, and Chief Newsham commended the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. They also expressed their appreciation for the assistance provided by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Park, who prosecuted the case.


Updated March 1, 2018

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 18-50