Washington man admits attempting to coerce minor for sexual activity in undercover investigation
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
MISSOULA — A Washington man who was accused of traveling to Missoula expecting to meet a child for sex and was arrested in an undercover investigation admitted to a coercion crime today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Kenton Alan Shaull, 59, pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. Shaull faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine and not less than five years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for July 26. Shaull was detained pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents and in statements in court that from January to May 2022, Shaull used his cellular phone to communicate on an internet-based social media service with a profile he believed belonged to a child, identified as “E,” who was under the age of 14. Shaull reaffirmed multiple times his belief that “E” was a child under the age of 14. Shaull also expressed his desire to engage in sexual activity with “E” and sent several sexually explicit videos of himself. Shaull further expressed his desire to meet “E” in person for sexual activity and traveled to Missoula on May 14, 2022 to meet with “E” at a pre-determined location, where law enforcement officers arrested him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Lowney is prosecuting the case. The FBI’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force and Missoula County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals 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.justice.gov/psc.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated April 14, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-122