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Press Release

Raleigh County Man Sentenced to More than 24 Years in Prison for Child Exploitation Crime

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

BECKLEY, W.Va. – James Edward Cook, 43, of Arnett, was sentenced today to 24 years and four months in prison, to be followed by 25 years of supervised release, for attempted enticement of a minor. Cook must also register as a sex offender.

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 encouraged her to take pictures of herself masturbating. Cook further admitted that he explained to the minor female that he wanted to be her first sexual partner and described his intentions in explicit detail using graphic language. Cook promised gifts to the minor female, including a cell phone.

Cook spoke to the minor female twice by telephone. Cook admitted to instructing her to prepare for their sexual intercourse, explaining that it might hurt and telling her to wash her genitals in advance. 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. Cook admitted that he coached the minor female on what to tell the driver who would pick her up. Cook obtained a ride from a friend to pick up the minor female at the school. When Cook arrived at the location that evening, he was arrested by law enforcement.

A forensic analysis of Cook’s cell phone and Facebook account revealed multiple conversations in which Cook discussed sexual activities with minor children, including Cook boasting that he had previously engaged in sexual intercourse with children as young as 12.

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 imposed the sentence. Assistant United States Attorney Julie M. White prosecuted 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

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.



Updated June 2, 2023

Project Safe Childhood