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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 21, 2019

Retired Navy Service Member Sentenced To Twenty Years For Attempted Enticement Of Minors To Engage In Sexual Activity And Possession Of Child Pornography

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza has sentenced Charles S. Leis (48, Tampa) to 20 years in federal prison, to be followed by 25 years of supervised release, for attempted enticement of minors to engage in sexual activity and for possessing child pornography. The court also ordered Leis to pay $16,500 in restitution and to forfeit a laptop and a hard drive, which were used in furtherance of the commission of the offenses. Leis had pleaded guilty on March 26, 2019.

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 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 locate 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 home 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 was 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated June 21, 2019