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Press Release

Franklin County Man Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Child Enticement

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

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on Thursday sentenced a man who tried to meet with a 12-year-old girl for sex and then fled from police to 18 years in prison.

Joshua L. Brown, 40, of from St. Clair, Missouri, pleaded guilty Dec. 21, 2021 to a felony charge of coercion and enticement of a minor. He admitted offering drugs to a 12-year-old in exchange for sex, while he was on parole from a child molestation conviction.

On March 3, 2020, Brown used Instagram to contact the girl. He made remarks about the girl’s breasts, requested photographs and referenced engaging in sexual acts with her. The girl told her mother, who contacted the Breckenridge Hills Police Department.

“We are incredibly indebted and grateful to this child - that she did the right thing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

Police took over the girl’s cellphone and Instagram account and began posing as the girl. Brown offered to provide marijuana and methamphetamine if the girl would engage in sexual intercourse. Brown arranged to meet the girl at Sims Park in Breckenridge Hills to engage in sex.

On March 17, 2020, he showed up in a Ford F150 truck at about 12:45 a.m. and sent a message via Instagram to the girl telling her to “leave now” so the two could meet.  When a police officer in a marked patrol vehicle activated his emergency lights and tried to stop Brown, he sped off, running three stop signs and two traffic lights before reaching the highway. Brown eventually drove off of Interstate 44 and down a steep embankment before crashing the truck through the gate of a private property owner’s land. Brown then abandoned his truck and fled on foot.

He was arrested in Jefferson County after a brief standoff in January of 2021.

A review of Brown’s Instagram account revealed that the defendant followed a large number of Instagram pages devoted to young girls.

At the time of his initial arrest, Brown was on parole after being sentenced to seven years in state prison in a 2011 case in Jefferson County Circuit Court. He had pleaded guilty to child molestation in the first degree in a case involving a victim under the age of 12.

The Breckenridge Hills Police Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI investigated this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated October 14, 2022

Project Safe Childhood