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Press Release

Former Texas Police Lieutenant Sentenced To Nearly 13 Years In Federal Prison For Attempting To Entice 11-Year-Old Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida – Chief United States District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Seth Estes Vanover (52, Diana, TX) to 12 years and 11 months in federal prison for attempting to entice an 11-year-old child to engage in sexual activity using an online social messaging app. Vanover was also ordered to serve a 15-year term of supervised release, register as a sex offender, and forfeit four iPhone devices. He had pleaded guilty on August 21, 2023.

According to court documents and evidence discussed in open court, on July 25, 2022, an undercover FBI agent began an online operation designed to identify individuals seeking to meet with and engage in sexual activity with children. Posing as a person with access to an 11-year-old child, the undercover (UC) agent posted a notice on the app and was then contacted by a user named “jattleson,” later identified as Vanover. Vanover confirmed that he was “into yung” and sent the UC agent several photos depicting child erotica and a nude adult male. Vanover and the UC agent discussed the sexual experience of the purported “child.” Vanover stated that he would “love to” meet them in Florida and would “love to be naked with” the “child.” Vanover and the UC agent engaged in more online conversations in August and September 2022, during which the two discussed, among other things, meeting in Florida so that Vanover could molest the “child.” Vanover described in graphic detail the sexual acts that he (Vanover) intended to perform on the “child,” and he directed the UC agent to talk to and prepare the “child” for the intended sexual activity.

On October 12, 2022, FBI agents arrested Vanover at the Longview Police Department in Longview, Texas, and Vanover, a police lieutenant, resigned on that same day. Agents searched the patrol car used by Vanover and recovered a cellphone that belonged to Vanover. A search of Vanover’s phone revealed that it contained, among other things, at least 234 videos and 133 photos depicting the sexual abuse of children, including infants, toddlers, and other young children. This phone also contained sexually explicit online communications that Vanover had with other app users, as well as child sexual abuse videos and photos that Vanover had solicited and received during some of these conversations.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance and cooperation of the Longview (Texas) Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

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

Updated December 21, 2023

Project Safe Childhood