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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Three-Time Convicted Sex Offender Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison

     Acting United States Attorney Steve Butler of the Southern District of Alabama announced that James Wesley Peterson, 32, of Kiln, Mississippi, was sentenced to 204 months (17 years) in prison for traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and committing a felony sex offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender. Peterson was also sentenced to lifetime supervision by the United States Probation Office following his release, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and payment of a $200 special assessment.

     Peterson was previously convicted of four counts of exploitation of children in Harrison County, Mississippi in 2004, and one count of exploitation of a child in Forrest County, Mississippi in 2011. As a result of these convictions, Peterson was required to register as a sex offender. Court documents indicate that in September of 2016, the FBI was contacted by a detective with the Fairhope Police Department about a 13-year old who had been in electronic communication with Peterson. In those communications, Peterson told the 13-year old that he wanted to engage in sexual conduct with her. Law enforcement agents took over the communications with Peterson, and according to documents filed in connection with his plea, Peterson arranged to meet the 13-year old on November 1 in Daphne. When Peterson arrived from Mississippi to meet the victim, he was arrested and confessed to arranging to meet the girl to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

     Robert Lasky, Special Agent in Charge of the Mobile Division of the FBI, said, "The FBI will always be a resource for our state and local partners when investigating these types of cases. I am very pleased with the court’s decision and thank the Fairhope Police Department for allowing us to assist them."

     This case was investigated by the Fairhope Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Sean P. Costello prosecuted the case for the United States Attorney’s Office. This investigation was a 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. 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

      A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama at http://www.justice.gov/usao/als/

Updated April 26, 2017