Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to New Hampshire to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct
CONCORD- Jean Fouad Yazbek, 63, of Norwood, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in federal court to traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2018, members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) conducted an undercover investigation targeting online sexual offenders. As part of this investigation, a detective created an undercover online persona of a 15-year-old girl (“UC”) residing in Nashua, New Hampshire. Various individuals began messaging the UC on social media soon after the account was registered, including Yazbek. Beginning on October 2, 2018, and continuing through October 8, 2018, Yazbek engaged in sexually-charged conversations over social media with the UC. In their conversations, Yazbek discussed his desire to engage in various sex acts, including sexual intercourse, with the UC whom he believed was a 15-year-old girl.
On October 8, 2018, Yazbek drove from Massachusetts to Nashua, New Hampshire, to meet the UC and engage in illicit sexual conduct at a local hotel. When Yazbek arrived, he encountered law enforcement officers instead and was placed under arrest. Yazbek admitted that he had planned to meet a 15-year-old girl, whom he had met online and with whom he intended to engage in illicit sexual conduct, including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse. According to Yazbek, he had checked into a local hotel prior to his arrest, and his hotel room contained a brand new phone, a teddy bear, undergarments, and a backpack containing shaving equipment, lubricant, and condoms. Among other things, Yazbek gave written consent to search his hotel room. Thereafter, officers searched his hotel room and found the items described by Yazbek during his interview.
Yazbek is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30, 2019.
“Protecting the children of New Hampshire from predators is a very high priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Those who seek to prey on the innocent frequently use the internet as a tool to advance their criminal intentions. Working through Project Safe Childhood, we will remain vigilant in coordinating law enforcement efforts to arrest and prosecute offenders against children.”
“We’re glad that, through great federal, state and local law enforcement teamwork, this sexual predator has now been brought to justice.” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “This result could never have happened without the solid, critical teamwork of our dedicated partners on the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Nashua Police Department.”
This matter was investigated by the Nashua Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam Le.
In February 2006, the Department of Justice introduced Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.