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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Monday, May 5, 2014

Alabama Man Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison For Traveling To Have Sex With Two Boys

ROME, Ga. - Joseph Franklin Ellis has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for traveling from Alabama to Georgia to meet an undercover agent who said that he had 12-year-old and 5-year-old boys available for sex.

“Ellis made a decision to prey on innocent and vulnerable children when he traveled to have sex with them,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “Because he was making the arrangements through an undercover officer, Ellis was stopped and his quest to molest children was ended.  These types of crimes are unimaginable and those who believe they can evade the law while carrying on this type of crime will learn as he did, you will be caught and you will go to jail.”

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “This case demonstrates the need to remain vigilant with regard to the protection of our children.  The FBI is committed to identifying, investigating, and presenting for prosecution individuals who have demonstrated the desire to exploit and harm children.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In February 2011, an undercover FBI task force officer placed a notice on a website designed for people to meet others for sexual purposes, saying that he had access to two minor boys.  Joseph Ellis began communicating with the undercover officer and believed that the officer had a 12-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy that he would make available for sex.  Ellis wrote that he wanted to meet the undercover officer for the express purpose of having sex with the boys.  The two eventually made arrangements to meet on May 30, 2011, at a Hampton Inn in Ringgold, Ga., where Ellis would have sex with the two children.  When Ellis showed up at the arranged location, FBI agents attempted to arrest him.  Ellis fled and led the police on a high-speed chase that only ended when he crashed his car.

Joseph Franklin Ellis, 33, of Attalla, Ala., has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison to be followed by 20 years of supervised release.  Ellis was convicted of these charges on February 25, 2014, after he pleaded guilty to attempting to have sex with minors.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul R. Jones prosecuted the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Rome Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 8, 2015