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Press Release

Parkersburg Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Crime

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Jon Ryan LaFever, 29, of Parkersburg, pleaded guilty today to production of child pornography.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on or about March 16, 2023, LaFever posted a picture of a minor female on an instant messaging mobile app. LaFever received a direct message after posting the photo from an app user asking about the minor female. LaFever admitted that he messaged the user that the minor female was a 7-year-old girl to whom he had access. LaFever further admitted that he sent the user several additional photos through direct messaging. The photos included one image of the minor female in her underwear and with her legs spread open, and two images of a minor female’s nude genital area.

LaFever also admitted to sending two videos of the minor female to the app user. In both videos, LaFever touches the minor female’s buttocks while she was asleep on a bed, attempts to pull her shorts and underwear aside to expose her genital and pubic area, and stops when she appears to be waking up.

On March 20, 2023, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant of LaFever’s Parkersburg residence. LaFever admitted to officers that he sent the videos on the messaging app. Officers seized LaFever’s during the search and a forensic analysis found it stored several images and videos depicting the minor female on a bed in his residence. LaFever admitted to creating the images and videos with his cell phone. They included the two videos of the minor female that he created with his cell phone on March 6, 2023.

LaFever further admitted to possessing hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his phone and an online file-storage account, and that some of this child pornography depicted prepubescent minors.

LaFever is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5, 2024, and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. LaFever also owes restitution, in an amount to be determined by the Court, and must register as a sex offender.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the West Virginia State Police.

United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as 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. 2:23-cr-199. 

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Updated July 1, 2024

Topic
Project Safe Childhood