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Press Release

Peoria Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Attempting to Entice a Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois
Lauren Barry, Public Affairs Officer

BENTON, Ill. – A district judge sentenced a man from Peoria, Illinois, to spend 10 years in prison after he traveled to southern Illinois to engage in sexual activity with a purported minor.

Mitch M. Titus, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted enticement of a minor on Dec. 14, 2023.

“This federal prison sentence reflects the serious threat the defendant could have had on an actual minor, who luckily in this case was purported,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Illinois State Police are working in lockstep to prosecute minor enticement cases and apprehend those intent on victimizing children.”

According to documents and evidence presented during court hearings, Titus responded to a forum on social media posted by an undercover detective with the Illinois State Police posing as an inexperienced minor. Titus had sexually explicit conversations with who he believed to be a 14-year-old minor from September 27 through October 4, 2022.

“Preying on youth is a diabolical crime and ISP is relentless when it comes to investigating predators,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.  “Through our partnerships with our prosecutorial partners at all levels, and training with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, we will continue to identify child predators and successfully bring them to justice."

As the conversation progressed, Titus arranged to meet the purported minor in Carbondale, where instead law enforcement was waiting and detained him. 

The Illinois State Police and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce contributed to the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey Bloodworth prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as 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. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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.

Updated March 28, 2024