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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 24, 2020

Jacksonville Man Arrested And Charged With Attempting To Entice And Meet A 12-Year-Old Child To Engage In Sexual Activity

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Wayne Dale Epps, Jr. (35, Jacksonville) has been arrested and charged with using the internet to attempt to entice a 12-year-old child to engage in sexual activity.  Epps faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. Epps is currently in federal custody and has been ordered detained pending trial.  

According to court documents, on February 14, 2020, an undercover FBI agent who was posing online as the family member of a 12-year-old child, was contacted by the user “ksaber2040,” who was later identified as Epps. The same undercover agent had previously engaged in online conversation with Epps in October 2019. Over the next several days, Epps and the undercover agent engaged in online conversation in which Epps expressed his desire to meet the 12-year-old “child” to engage in sexual activity. Epps provided the undercover agent with details about the sexual acts that he wished to perform on the child. On the afternoon of February 18, 2020, Epps drove to a prearranged location in Jacksonville to meet the child for sex and was arrested by FBI agents.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

It is another case 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated February 24, 2020