Jury Convicts Missouri Man for using Online Dating App to Lure a Teen Girl to have Sex and Produce Child Pornography
BENTON, Ill. – A Jefferson County, Missouri, man is facing at least 15 years in prison after a
federal jury found him guilty Monday of arranging to have sexual activity with a minor, traveling
to pick her up in Belleville, Illinois, and producing sexually explicit images of her.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Earl G. Rice, Jr., 63, chatted online
via a dating application with a teenage girl. Rice quickly indicated his interest in
traveling to Belleville, Illinois, from Dittmer, Missouri, to meet the victim and engage in sexual
acts with her. On Valentine’s Day of 2018, Rice arrived with alcohol, condoms, and a candle to take
the victim to a nearby motel. Rice engaged in sexual acts with the victim and produced sexually
explicit images of the teen girl on his cell phone. Belleville Police Department apprehended Rice
at the scene of the crime on February 15, 2018, after he was described driving a “red hooptie”.
Graphic images taken by Rice of the minor victim were shown to the jury during the five-day trial
held at the federal courthouse in Benton, Illinois. Jurors also saw surveillance footage from the
motel and heard testimony about DNA evidence connecting Rice to the crimes.
Sentencing has been scheduled for January 27, 2022, in front of United States District Judge Staci
M. Yandle. Enticement of a Minor is punishable by at least 10 years in prison and up to life;
Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct is punishable up to 30 years in prison; and
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (Production of Child Pornography) is punishable by at least 15 years
in prison and up to 30 years.
Belleville Police Department conducted the investigation, along with support from the
Illinois State Police, and FBI-Springfield and Saint Louis Divisions.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ali Burns and Karelia Rajagopal.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006
by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and
abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation
and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local
resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to
identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood,
please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education,
www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”