United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that U.S. District Court Judge John W. deGravelles sentenced Gerald Joseph Braud, Jr., age 46, of Gonzales, Louisiana, to serve 180 months in federal prison following his conviction for coercion and enticement of a minor. Braud will also be required to serve five years of supervised release and register as a convicted sex offender upon his release from prison.
According to admissions Braud made during his plea, on or about April 23, 2018, Braud, at his home in Gonzales, Louisiana, used Instagram to communicate with Minor Victim 1. Braud used the Instagram name “cornelious12345.” Minor Victim 1 identified herself as a 14-year old who lived in North Carolina, and Braud falsely told her that he was 16, almost 17 years old, when in truth, he was 44 years old. Braud then asked her to “talk dirty” with him. During their sexually explicit chat on Instagram, Braud sent Minor Victim 1 sexually explicit images of himself and repeatedly requested to see sexually explicit images and videos of Minor Victim 1. Minor Victim 1 complied with several of these requests and sent Braud sexually explicit images.
Additionally, between February and May 2018, Braud contacted at least four other minor victims over Instagram who identified themselves to Braud as minors. Similar to Minor Victim 1, Braud engaged these minor victims in sex talk, lied about his age, made promises of love, sent sexually explicit images of himself, and requested that these minor victims send him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves to Braud. Four of them responded with sexually explicit images. Braud later admitted to law enforcement that he asked at least 15 minor girls for nude pictures or videos.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “This conviction and sentence once again demonstrates that our office, along with our law enforcement partners, will fight aggressively to protect our communities from child predators, such as Gerald Braud. We will continue to work tirelessly to bring justice to those individuals who exploit or harm our children. I commend our prosecutor and the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their excellent work in this matter.”
Bryan A. Vorndran, FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge, stated, “Minor children and teenagers are innocent and naive to the surreptitious ways of individuals like Gerald Braud who attempt to exploit our children for financial gain and/or sexual gratification. The FBI New Orleans Field Office’s Child Exploitation Task Force, in collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and fight for those who can't
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth White.