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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 12, 2021

Jury Convicts Belleville Man of Attempting to Arrange Sex with Young Girl

East St. Louis, Ill. – A Belleville man is facing at least 10 years in prison after a federal jury 
found him guilty today of attempting to arrange sexual activity with a minor.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Sean P. Van Horn, 49, responded on 
April  29, 2020,  to  a  Craigslist  ad  placed  by FBI  agents  advertising incest.  Van Horn  
then  began exchanging emails with an undercover agent who portrayed himself as the father of a 
10-year-old girl. Over the course of roughly one month, Van Horn sent the agent multiple messages 
that described in graphic terms the specific sexual acts that he wished to perform on the girl. Van 
Horn also asked to meet up with the agent and the fictitious girl so that he could have sex with 
her.

FBI agents arrested Van Horn on May 28, 2020, when he showed up at the prearranged location in 
O’Fallon, Illinois.

Graphic messages sent by Van Horn to the undercover agent were shown to the jury during the two- 
day trial held at the federal courthouse in Benton, Illinois. Jurors also heard a recorded call 
that Van Horn made to his girlfriend while he was in custody in which he admitted to being on 
Craigslist “doing things I shouldn’t have been doing.”

Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 16, 2021, in front of United States District Judge Stacie M. 
Yandle. Attempted enticement of a minor is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in 
prison.

FBI-Springfield conducted the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karelia Rajagopal and Casey Bloodworth.
 

Updated August 12, 2021