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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2016

Virginia Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Entice a Minor

NORFOLK, Va. – John Francis Aragon, 50, of Virginia Beach, pleaded guilty today to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and other court documents, in May 2016, Aragon posted an ad on Craigslist seeking “fetish sex with young girl.” A detective with the Virginia Beach Police Department, in an undercover capacity, responded to the ad pretending to be a 14-year-old girl. The two chatted over a period of time, and the conversations became sexually explicit. Eventually, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations took over the alleged 14-year-old’s role. On three occasions, Aragon left money under a rock at a local park in exchange for a pair of the girl’s underwear. Aragon also expressed his desire to meet the girl in person in order to engage in sexual activity and on August 16, Aragon showed up at the park in Virginia Beach to meet the girl and was then arrested.

Aragon was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 21, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on Feb. 24, 2017. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk; and James A. Cervera, Chief of Virginia Beach Police, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi is prosecuting the case.

This investigation was a 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 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:16-cr-129.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated November 21, 2016