Skip to main content
Press Release

Missouri Man Charged with Enticing an Illinois Minor, Traveling to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct

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


Joseph L. Hughes, a/k/a "Joe King," 27, was arraigned today in federal court on a three-count indictment charging him with enticement of a minor and two counts of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. According to the indictment, between November 21 and December 8, 2018, Hughes knowingly used a facility of interstate commerce to persuade, induce, entice and coerce a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, namely aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The indictment further accuses Hughes of traveling from Missouri to Illinois on two separate occasions to engage in illicit sexual conduct with the minor – once on November 24 and a second time on December 8.

Hughes is also currently facing related state charges in St. Clair County, Illinois.

An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

If convicted of enticement, Hughes faces a penalty of 10 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a possible lifetime term of supervised release. On each of the travel counts, Hughes could receive as much as 30 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for life. Trial is presently scheduled for July 2, 2019, in East St. Louis.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 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 For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

The case was investigated by the Belleville Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Scott.

Updated October 4, 2021

Project Safe Childhood