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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Sixty-Year-Old Zephyrhills Man Charged With Attempted Online Enticement Of A Minor To Engage In Sexual Activity

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the arrest and charging by criminal complaint of Lavern Lee Renninger (60, Zephyrhills) with attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. If convicted, Renninger faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release.

According to the complaint, from March 3 through March 18, 2020, Renninger engaged in chats, through an online classified advertising site and through text messaging, with an individual he believed to be the mother of two minor female children. On multiple occasions during those conversations, Renninger indicated to the “mother,” actually an undercover St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office detective, his desire to engage in sexual activity with those minor children.

This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

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 March 19, 2020