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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

North Carolina man pleads guilty to attempted enticement of a minor

Defendant faces at least 10 years and up to life in federal prison

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A North Carolina man pleaded guilty today to a federal sex crime involving a minor, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Timothy Sean Coogle, 46, of Lexington, entered his guilty plea to attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the FBI in North Carolina.

“There are severe consequences for those who prey on our children, and these penalties should serve as a warning for anyone who even attempts this criminal activity,” said U.S. Attorney Stuart. “The officers working on these cases deserve our thanks. Their work protects our most vulnerable from sexual predators.”

Coogle admitted that from August 12, 2017, through September 22, 2017, he used his cell phone and the Internet to attempt to persuade, induce, and entice a minor residing in the Southern District of West Virginia to engage in sexual activity. Specifically, Coogle admitted that he sent messages to a 13-year-old minor female, commenting on a photo of her. The minor’s mother discovered messages from Coogle and contacted law enforcement. Soon after, Coogle began engaging in sexually explicit conversation with a person he believed to be the minor, but was actually an undercover officer. He additionally requested that the person he believed to be the minor send him sexually explicit photos and video footage, and he also sent a sexually explicit video. Coogle admitted that he engaged in all of this communication in order to persuade the person he believed to be the minor to engage in sexual activity when she visited North Carolina. 

Coogle faces at least 10 years and up to life in federal prison. After his release from prison, Coogle will be required to serve a term of federal supervised release of at least five years and up to life, and he will also be required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is scheduled for May 2, 2018.

Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

This case is being 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 31, 2018