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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 17, 2022

Raleigh County Man Pleads Guilty to Child Exploitation Offense

BECKLEY, W.Va. – A Raleigh County man pleaded guilty today to attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

According to statements made in court, Lawrence Lee Hart, 61, of Glen Daniel, contacted another user on a dating app on October 1, 2021. Hart was told that the girl was only 13 years old and located in Beckley. After learning the girl’s age and that she was a virgin, Hart offered to teach her about sex. Over the next month, Hart engaged in extensive text and phone conversations with the girl during which he instructed her on masturbation, oral sex, and sexual intercourse. He also asked her to send him a sexually explicit image of herself and sent sexually explicit photographs of himself. On November 5, 2021, Hart was arrested when he went to meet the minor to engage in sexual activity.

Hart faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in June 2022.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office.

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the hearing.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald 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. 5:21-cr-00254.

 

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated February 17, 2022