Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to Baltimore to Have Sex With a Minor
Baltimore, Maryland – Ryan C. Anton, age 42, of Elverson, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty today to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, in July, 2014, as part of an investigation of individuals who were targeting minors online for sexual exploitation, an undercover Baltimore City Police detective placed an ad on the internet. On July 23, 2014, Anton initiated text messaging with the undercover detective. Anton believed that the detective was a 14 year old, hearing-impaired girl named Heidi who was in the 10th grade. After a series of exchanges of sexually-explicit text messages over a period of weeks, including the solicitation of pornographic images from “Heidi,” Anton relayed that he was on a bus to Baltimore, provided the bus number and attempted to convince “Heidi” to board the bus.
Baltimore City Police detectives assisted by HSI agents boarded the bus and arrested Anton. Anton admitted that the plan was for “Heidi” to get on the bus with him to travel to Washington, D.C. where he had booked a hotel room to have sex.
As part of his plea agreement, Anton must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Anton and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Anton will be sentenced to seven years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for August 6, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the HSI Baltimore and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel M. Yasser, who is prosecuting the case.