Metro Atlanta man sentenced for arranging to have sex with a minor
ATLANTA, Ga. – Mewael Berhane, who communicated on the Internet to arrange to meet a minor girl for sex, has been sentenced to federal prison for enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
“This case shines a light on some of the darkest corners of the Internet, where predators seek out minors to victimize,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Through the vigilance of our law enforcement partners, Berhane is being held accountable for his depraved conduct.”
“The federal investigation and subsequent prison sentence clearly reflects the threat Berhane posed to the community,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Fortunately, he connected with an undercover FBI agent and not a child. Let it be a warning to sexual predators who think the anonymity of the internet keeps them protected from detection.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In October 2017, Berhane posted an ad on Craigslist that was titled “Very Taboo-something different.” In the ad, he expressed his interest in finding mothers and daughters who wanted to have sex with the same man.
An agent with the FBI responded, posing as the “mother” of an 11-year-old girl. The “mother” wrote that she was looking for someone to teach her 11-year-old daughter how to be with a man sexually. Berhane told her that he would “definitely be up for that.”
Berhane continued communicating with the girl’s “mother” on the cell phone app “Kik messenger” and graphically described the sex acts which he planned to engage in with the 11-year-old girl. Berhane asked the mother to send him photos of her 11-year-old daughter on multiple occasions. He even sent her a photo of himself wearing only his underwear.
On November 7, 2017, Berhane made arrangements to meet the mother and the girl for the purpose of engaging in sex with the child. That same day, the defendant drove from his office in Decatur to Duluth, Georgia, in rush hour traffic to meet the girl. He was arrested when he arrived at the pre-arranged location.
Mewael Berhane, 40, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by ten years of supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison. Berhane was convicted on these charges on October 22, 2018, after he pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William G. Traynor and Leanne M. Marek 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.