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Press Release

Newburgh Man Charged With Transporting A Minor For Criminal Sexual Activity

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

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bruce Campbell, Chief of the Town of Newburgh Police Department, announced that VERNON E. COPELAND III, was indicted today for transporting a minor from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Newburgh, New York, with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with the minor.  COPELAND was charged by criminal complaint on November 20, 2020, and arrested on August 3, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.  COPELAND will be transported to the Southern District of New York for arraignment and prosecution.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Vernon Copeland preyed on a 13-year-old, whom he transported from Bridgeport to Newburgh to engage in sex.  Thanks to the FBI and the Town of Newburgh Police, Copeland is in custody and facing this serious federal charge.”

FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said: “A 13-year-old child should be spending time playing sports and going to school, not worrying about being used by an alleged criminal for his own sexual gratification. We must do better as adults in protecting these innocent children because even one being victimized by a predator is too many. A first step in helping someone who may be a victim - call 1-800-CALL-FBI if you have any information about Mr. Copeland.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment returned today[1]:

On or about February 7, 2020, COPELAND transported a 13-year-old minor (“Victim-1”) from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Newburgh, New York, where he engaged, and attempted to engage, in illegal sexual activity with Victim-1.

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COPELAND 36, of Newburgh, New York, is charged with one count of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.  The statutory minimum and maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the efforts of the FBI and the Town of Newburgh Police Department.  She added that the investigation is ongoing.

Any individuals who believe they have information that may be relevant to this investigation should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Keenan is in charge of the prosecution.

The charge contained in the Indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Nicholas Biase, James Margolin
(212) 637-2600

Updated August 17, 2021

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 21-221