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Press Release

Omaha Man Sentenced for Sex Trafficking of a Minor by Force

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that James Ferman Chatman, 43, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in federal court in Omaha for sex trafficking of a minor by force. Chief United States District Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. sentenced Chatman to 324 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal prison system. After his release from prison, Chatman will serve 10 years of supervised release. Chatman was also ordered to pay $1,300 in restitution. Chatman will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Law enforcement began investigating in September 2021 after receiving information from FBI Innocence Lost that a missing 17-year-old female was actively being advertised online for commercial sex in Omaha. Investigators located and contacted the minor female who advised that she was being forced to engage in commercial sex sales by a person known to her as “James Cooper.” The minor stated that “James” kept all of the money received from sex buyers. The minor reported that she had been sexually assaulted by “James” and that “James” had been providing her with cocaine. Evidence uncovered by law enforcement showed James Ferman Chatman had created online commercial sex ads depicting the minor female in addition to ads depicting other females. After the minor was recovered, Chatman continued to post commercial sex ads in various states across the county. In November 2021, investigators learned that Chatman had returned to a hotel in Omaha. Investigators arrested Chatman at the hotel. Also staying in the hotel room was an adult female who advised that she was being sold for sex by Chatman and that Chatman used violence and threats of violence to keep her engaging in commercial sex sales.

In 2019, Chatman was convicted of Unlawful Sexual Acts with a 16–17 Year Old in Leon County, Florida. Chatman had not registered as a sex offender in Nebraska after leaving Florida.

"The FBI remains resolute in our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community and bringing child predators to justice. We value and recognize the critical work of our law enforcement partners. As with many crimes we investigate, we cannot do it without collaboration from the law enforcement community and the public," said Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel of the Omaha Field Office.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


Michael Norris – Criminal Chief (402) 661-3700

Updated April 28, 2023

Project Safe Childhood