Retired Navy Service Member Pleads Guilty To Attempted Enticement Of Minors To Engage In Sexual Activity And Possession Of Child Pornography
Orlando, Florida– United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Charles S. Leis (48, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of minors to engage in sexual activity and possession of child pornography. Leis faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison for the attempted enticement count and up to 10 years in federal prison for the possession offense. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, on October 24, 2018, an FBI special agent in Orange County, Florida initiated an undercover investigation within an online chat group that alluded to “family fun.” Leis joined the chat group and initiated conversations with the undercover agent, who identified himself as the father of two girls, ages 9 and 11. During the span of several days, Leis solicited sex, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex, from the minors. In that process, Leis distributed images of child pornography to the “father” in an effort to prove that he was “real” about his intent to engage the “girls” in sexual activity. Leis made plans to meet the “girls” in Tampa on November 2, 2018. However, on that date, the agent could not find Leis at the agreed upon location.
Further investigation revealed that around the same time (October 2018), Leis had been in contact with another FBI agent through another chat group. That undercover agent was acting as the father of 6 and 7-year-old girls. Leis also distributed child pornography to that agent and requested to have sexual intercourse with his “children.”
On November 29, 2018, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Leis’s residence in Tampa and seized his computer. The computer had depictions of girls between 3 and 10 years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ilianys Rivera Miranda and Francis D. Murray.
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.