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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 12, 2016

Tampa Man Convicted Of Attempted Sex Trafficking Of A Child

Tampa, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces today that a federal jury found Matheus William Geronasso (23, Tampa) guilty of attempted sex trafficking of a child. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 14, 2016. Geronasso was indicted on March 29, 2016.

According to evidence presented at trial, Geronasso responded to an advertisement posted on Backpage.com by a person looking for individuals willing to pay to have sex with his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter. Unbeknownst to Geronasso, the ad had been placed by an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Geronasso sent several text messages stating that he wanted to have sex with the 14-year-old girl. After negotiating the price, Geronasso drove to the designated location, met with an undercover agent, and paid to have sex with the child.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa M. Thelwell and Josephine W. Thomas.

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 September 13, 2016