Skip to main content
Press Release

Nicholas County man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for attempted enticement of a minor

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Nicholas County man was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison for a sex crime involving a minor, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. John Marshall Underwood, Jr., 44, of Gilboa, previously pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. After completing his prison sentence, Underwood will be on federal supervised release for 15 years, and he will also be required to register as a sex offender.


Underwood admitted that from December 14, 2016, through February 1, 2017, he used a cell phone to communicate with a woman he believed to be a prostitute who had custody of two minor nieces. The woman Underwood thought was a prostitute was actually an undercover law enforcement officer. Underwood also admitted that he communicated with the woman about engaging in commercial sexual activity with one of the nieces. On at least two occasions, Underwood communicated with an individual he believed to be the niece and attempted to entice her to engage in commercial sexual activity. The individual Underwood thought was the niece was also an undercover law enforcement officer. Underwood admitted that on February 1, 2017, he arranged a meeting with the individuals, who were actually undercover officers, and was arrested after he arrived at the meeting location. Law enforcement recorded all the calls between Underwood and the undercover officers.


The investigation was conducted by the Charleston Police Department, the West Virginia State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of the prosecution. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentence.


This case was brought 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

Updated September 20, 2017

Project Safe Childhood