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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Air Force Sergeant Sentenced to Ten Years for Attempting to Meet Children for Sex

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore today sentenced Nicholas Darwin Yancey (30, Melbourne) to 10 years in federal prison for attempted child enticement. The Court also ordered him to forfeit two cellphones and a computer that he had used to commit the offenses. Yancey pleaded guilty on October 2, 2014.

According to court documents, on February 10, 2014, Yancey, a Staff Sergeant on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, posted an advertisement on Craigslist soliciting individuals for “texting/sexting.” An undercover law enforcement officer with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, posing as a 14-year-old child, responded to the ad. Yancey and the “child” communicated over the Internet for months, during which time Yancey told the “child” that he wanted to engage in sexual intercourse with her and solicited nude photographs of her. He also stated that he had a crush on her, and invited her to a sleepover at a hotel on MacDill Air Force Base.

On June 26, 2014, the undercover officer observed several additional postings from Yancey on Craigslist. The officer responded to one of the advertisements posing as a second “child.” Yancey and the second “child” communicated using an Internet messaging application. Yancey told the second “child” that he wanted to engage in sexual intercourse with her, and possibly one of her friends. He arranged to meet the second “child” for sex on July 3, 2014, but later attempted to change the meeting. When the second “child” declined, Yancey informed her that he would simply go down the list, referring to his ability to find another person to meet. On June 27, 2014, Yancey contacted the first “child” and arranged to meet her later that week for sex. On June 29, 2014, he traveled to the Ballast Point area in Tampa, where they had arranged to meet, and was arrested.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Kaiser.

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 United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.

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Updated February 5, 2015