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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jury Convicts 64-Year-Old Las Vegas Man Of Interstate Transportation Of A Minor For Unlawful Sexual Activity

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal jury returned a guilty verdict today, finding Donald J. Peel, 64, of Las Vegas, Nevada, guilty of transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents and evidence presented during the five-day trial, Peel initiated a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in Las Vegas in late 2013. In February 2014, he took her on a trip lasting almost a month, through five states, including Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. Peel had sex with the minor in each of the five states. The trip ended with Peel’s arrest in Weed, California on March 19, 2014. The minor was still accompanying him.

Evidence at trial showed that Peel targeted the teenager, who had a developmental disability and a drug problem. During the five-state trip he provided her with drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine (which he administered intravenously), and marijuana. He engaged in sexual activity with the teenager nearly every day of the trip. Also presented during the trial was evidence that Peel attempted to keep his girlfriend in Las Vegas from testifying at trial, though she ultimately testified.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Highway Patrol, the Weed Police Department, Siskiyou Juvenile Probation Department, and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith, Sherry D. Haus, and Matthew D. Morris are prosecuting the case.

Peel is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on February 6, 2015. Peel faces a sentence of at least 10 years, and up to life in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 2:14-cr-192 GEB
Updated April 8, 2015