Graduate Student Pleads Guilty to Child Enticement
Acting United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that Zhijun Xia, age 30, of China, entered a plea of guilty on April 23, 2021 in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Coercion and Enticement of a Minor before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart. Xia’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for July 23, 2021 at 1:30 pm in front of Chief United States District Court Judge John M. Gerrard. Coercion and Enticement of a Minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ imprisonment up to life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, both imprisonment and a fine, a special assessment of $5,000, and a term of supervised release of no less than 5 years up to a lifetime term of supervised release.
Between June 1, 2018 to February 28, 2020, Xia was a graduate student at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Xia is a Chinese national. Xia met Victim 1’s mother and Victim 1’s mother hired Xia to tutor Victim 1 in the Chinese language. Xia began tutoring Victim 1 in June of 2018. Xia met Victim 1 in person for the tutoring sessions and began communicating with Victim 1 over the social media application WeChat. Xia began inquiring over WeChat about Victim 1’s sexual history.
On July 10, 2018, Victim 1 attended a summer camp at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Xia messaged Victim 1 over the Internet using WeChat about his plan to visit her in Lincoln on July 11. During this conversation, Xia discussed various forms of birth control with Victim 1 in response to Victim 1 relaying her fears of becoming pregnant while in high school. Xia reserved a room at the Red Roof Inn and Suites in Lincoln for the night of July 11. Xia picked up Victim 1 from the University of Nebraska campus and took Victim 1 to the Red Roof Inn, where he subjected Victim 1 to sexual penetration. Xia was 27 years of age and Victim 1 was 15 years of age. It is a crime under Nebraska State law for someone over the age of 25 to subject someone between the ages of 12 and 16 to sexual penetration. Immediately following this incident, Xia continued to message Victim 1 on WeChat regarding the July 11 incident.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Omaha Police Department, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Police Department, and the Lincoln Police Department.