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Press Release

Portsmouth Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Coercing a Minor

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man pleaded guilty today to coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to court documents, in April 2023, James Wentworth, 31, engaged in multiple sex acts with a minor. Law enforcement additionally discovered an email address Wentworth used to exchange sexually explicit messages with the minor. The emails included discussions regarding Wentworth’s intentions to use sex toys, bondage rope, and bondage tape to restrain the minor during sex acts. The emails further included directions for the minor to delete emails they had previously exchanged.

Wentworth is scheduled to be sentenced on January 9, 2024. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Stephen Jenkins, Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement after U.S. Elizabeth Wilson Hanes accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Taylor is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-98.

Updated August 29, 2023

Project Safe Childhood