Tulsa Man Sentenced for Attempting to Transfer Obscene Material to a Minor
A Tulsa man has been sentenced today after he attempted to send obscene material to an individual he believed was a 14-year-old girl, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.
Aaron Charles Merritt, 34, was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison and 3 years of supervised release in front of U.S. District Court Judge John E. Dowdell. Further, Merritt will have to forfeit the electronic devices that were used or intended to be used to facilitate his crime.
From March, 2020 until May, 2020, Merritt used an online messaging service to send numerous messages of a sexual nature to someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl; however, it was an undercover agent. Throughout his messages, Merritt asked questions about the young girl’s age and if she had a history of “hooking up” with older men she met on the internet. Further, Merritt acknowledged the legal consequences for engaging in sexual activity with her. Merritt continued sexual inquiries and sent a photo of his face, multiple photos of him masturbating, and a photo of he and a woman engaging in a sex act. Merritt went as far to say that he was not just communicating out of fantasy, but wanted to have children with the young woman he believed he was corresponding with. Merritt was ultimately arrested at his home, where officers located the mobile device used in the communications.
“Sadly, the facts of this case are far too common a story in today’s society: an adult male used the internet to sexually exploit a young child,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Fortunately, in this case, it was an undercover officer on the other end of that conversation and this predator was brought to justice.”
The FBI and the Tulsa Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Nassar and Melody Noble Nelson prosecuted the case.