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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Benjamin Joseph Shook Sentenced To Serve Life In Federal Prison For Federal Crimes Including Kidnapping Fourteen-Year Old Girl

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Benjamin Joseph Shook, 43, originally of Hall County, Ga., was sentenced on Oct. 6, 2016 by the Honorable R. Leon Jordan, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve life plus five years in federal prison. 

Shook pleaded guilty in June 2016 to five federal crimes, including kidnapping, using a means of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, transporting a minor in interstate commerce for illegal sexual activity, traveling interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity, and failing to register as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act while traveling interstate.

During the summer of 2015, Shook, who was recently released from Georgia prison for prior sex offenses, convinced a 14-year-old girl residing in Surgoinsville, Tenn., to drive a truck and meet him in Morristown, Tenn.  Shook drove the truck from Morristown to North Carolina and then to Virginia.  After a nationwide Amber Alert and search, he and the minor victim were found in rural Smyth County, Va.  The victim was returned safely to her family.

Nancy Stallard Harr, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee noted the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s office to the safety of children and the extensive collaborative effort which resulted in Shook’s arrest and life sentence.  “This positive outcome would not have been possible without assistance from the public and the media together with the joint effort of more than 15 law enforcement agencies.  Nearly 200 law enforcement officers worked around the clock over a three-state area for 14 days to rescue this minor female victim from a convicted child sex predator,” said U.S. Attorney Harr.

Agencies involved in this investigation included: the Surgoinsville Police Department; Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Virginia State Police; Tennessee Highway Patrol; U.S. Forrest Service; Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Carroll, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe County Sheriff’s Offices in Virginia; and Damascus, Virginia Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith represented the United States.    



Updated October 6, 2016