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Press Release

Mercer County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Crime

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

BLUEFIED, W.Va. – Eric Shawn Phillips, 43, of Princeton, pleaded guilty today to enticement of a minor.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from on or about April 19, 2021, to on or about February 17, 2022, Phillips persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced a minor female to engage in sexual activity with him. Phillips admitted that his criminal conduct included sending numerous sexually explicit messages to the minor female via text messaging and social media messaging apps.

Phillips is scheduled to be sentenced on November 13, 2023. Phillips and the United States Attorney’s Office have agreed that a sentence of 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release is the appropriate punishment for his crimes. Phillips must also register as a sex offender.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorneys Julie M. White and Alex Redmon are prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-194. 



Updated July 31, 2023

Project Safe Childhood