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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 19, 2023

Raleigh County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Crime

BECKLEY, W.Va. – James Edward Cook, 43, of Arnett, pleaded guilty today to attempted enticement of a minor.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in December 2021, Cook began communicating with an individual on Facebook he believed to be a 9-year-old girl living in Beckley. Cook admitted that he discussed sexually explicit topics with the minor female, offered to teach her about sex, and told the minor female he wanted to be the first person with whom she had sexual intercourse. Cook further admitted that he told the minor female he would make a video of them having sexual intercourse for the first time, and discussed getting the minor female pregnant in the future.

On December 28, 2021, Cook arranged to meet the minor female outside a Raleigh County school. When Cook arrived at the location that evening, he was arrested by law enforcement.

Cook is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5, 2023, and faces a mandatory minimum of  10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up 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) West Virginia Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force, the West Virginia Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the West Virginia State Police.

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing. Assistant United States Attorney Julie M. White is 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 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-43.

 

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 19, 2023