Alabama Man Sentenced to 121 Months in Federal Prison for Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Thomas Monroe Lee, 40, of Gadsden, Alabama, was sentenced today to serve 121 months in federal prison for using the Internet in an attempt to persuade, induce, and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Evidence presented during a three day trial in April 2013 proved that, on June 14, 2012, law enforcement officers posed as a 14-year-old boy named Skylar and responded to an advertisement entitled “Last call!!!! – m4m – 1840 (PCB/Laguna beach),” which had been posted under the “Casual Encounters” link on Craigslist. Over the next 48 hours, Lee engaged in email chats and text messages with Skylar that were sexual in nature. Subsequently, Lee drove to a location where he had arranged to meet Skylar and transport him back to his residence to engage in sexual activity. Once Lee arrived at the location, officers from various law enforcement agencies arrested him for attempted online enticement of a child.
Lee was also sentenced to a fine in the amount of $1,000, a $100 special monetary assessment, and a 7-year term of supervised release, which he will be required to serve upon completion of his sentence.
In announcing the sentence, Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, credited the success of this prosecution to the joint efforts of the agencies participating in the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, particularly U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Marshals Service, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gainesville Police Department.
Ms. Marsh said, “The internet is a dangerous place, and we are determined to protect and provide justice to victims of internet crime.” She added, “Adult predators who seek to harm our children will be pursued and prosecuted by our office in cooperation with our law enforcement partners.”
“This man drove across state lines for the sole purpose of engaging in sexual relations with a child he believed to be 14 years old,” said Shane Folden, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. “Our joint law enforcement efforts have successfully put this man behind bars for the next 10 years where he can no longer prey on innocent children.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Risinger.