Former Youth Minister Sentenced To 48 Months In Federal Prison On Obscenity Conviction
Defendant Worked at Churches in Levelland and Lubbock
LUBBOCK, Texas—Trevor Jacob Fortner, 25, of Lubbock, Texas, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 48 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in July 2013 to one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. Judge Cummings ordered that Fortner surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 22, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Most recently, Fortner was a youth minister at a church in Levelland, Texas; he has also worked in the graphics department of a church in Lubbock.
According to documents filed in the case, on May 7, 2013, Fortner responded to an online personal advertisement that had been posted by an undercover officer with the Lubbock Police Department (LPD). Posing as a 15-year-old girl, the undercover officer responded to Fortner’s initial contact. During ensuing emails and text conversations between Fortner and the undercover officer, Fortner repeatedly affirmed that he understood the girl’s age.
During these text conversations, Fortner discussed meeting the minor girl and described the kind of sexual activity he wished to engage in with her. He asked her to send him “kinky pics” and “dirty pics,” and on May 7, 2013, he sent her a sexually explicit photograph of himself. The following day, Fortner was interviewed by LPD officers and he admitted communicating with a 15-year-old girl and sending her a photograph of himself, which he acknowledged was obscene.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was 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 Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, the LPD and the LPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Burch prosecuted.