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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ross County Man on Parole Charged with Attempted Coercion of Minor for Unlawful Sexual Activity, Distributing Child Porn

COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Charles Fortner, 39, of Chillicothe, was arrested yesterday afternoon when he met up with an undercover officer who he believed would connect him to children in order to engage in sexual conduct.

 

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin, Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer and other members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) announced the arrest.

 

Fortner was charged by criminal complaint with attempted coercion or enticement of a minor for unlawful sexual activity, distribution of child pornography and commission of a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender.

 

According to the affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, Fortner responded to an undercover task force officer’s advertisement seeking “open minded” individuals interested in “taboo fetishes.” The officer’s persona was that of a mother with three children, ages 12, eight and five.

 

Fortner told the persona he had wanted to engage in sexual activities with kids for a while and persisted in asking what sexual activities he could engage in with the children, and suggested that he and the persona meet soon.

 

Via Kik messenger, Fortner also sent the undercover officer a webpage link to child pornography and a screen shot from a video of a seven-to-nine-year-old female being sexually abused.

 

Upon asking for further contacts of parents with children open to sexual intercourse, the undercover officer provided Fortner with a second undercover officer’s phone number. Fortner reached out to that second officer and requested to engage in sexual intercourse with the officer’s fictitious 13-year-old daughter.

 

Fortner was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to prison in Montgomery County, Texas for possession of child pornography. The previous year, he had been convicted and sentenced to prison in Belmont County, Ohio for importuning and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, for which he is still currently on parole. Commission of a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender calls for an additional 10 years in prison consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

 

Fortner is currently registered as a Tier III sex offender in Ross County.

 

In this case, due to the prior convictions of the defendant, attempted coercion or enticement of a minor for unlawful sexual activity is a crime punishable by a range of 10 years to life in prison and distribution of child pornography carries a potential sentence of 15 to 40 years in prison.

 

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force and the Franklin County ICAC, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Heather A. Hill, who is representing the United States in this case.

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated August 22, 2017