Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Crimes
BECKLEY, W.Va. – A Montana man pleaded guilty today to two counts of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 13, 2021, Gary Lee Hodges, 71, of Big Fork, Montana, contacted a woman in Beckley on a social networking website dedicated to individuals interested in sexual fetishes. Hodges learned that the woman had two daughters, ages 11 and 13. Hodges expressed interest in coming to West Virginia to establish a household with the woman and children, where he would engage in sexual activity with both minor females. Specifically, Hodges stated that he planned to engage in sexual intercourse and oral sex on a regular basis with both minor females.
During the next month, Hodges continued to make plans to travel to West Virginia to meet the woman and her daughters. To encourage the children to engage in sexual activity with him, Hodges sent them lingerie and other gifts and booked a trip to take them to Washington, D.C., to visit the zoo. Hodges reserved a hotel room in Beckley to meet the woman and the girls. Hodges flew to Charleston on January 14, 2022, where he was arrested.
Hodges is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30, 2022, and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, as well as five years to a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force.
United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald and third-year law student intern Ryan Vick handled today’s plea hearing.
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 www.justice.gov/psc.
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. 5:22-cr-33.