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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Two Men Sentenced for Traveling to Engage in Sex with Minor

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – Two men were sentenced today for sex offenses involving minors, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Arun Dhavamani, 41, of Camp Creek, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for traveling in interstate commerce in order to engage in sexual activity. Jeffrey William Sexton, Jr., of Virginia Beach, Virginia., was sentenced to 63 months in prison. Both men will served a term of 15 years on supervised release following their release from prison.

“The children of this district have no better champion than my office. I will seek maximum penalties for those who prey on West Virginia’s most vulnerable,” United States Attorney Mike Stuart said.

Dhavamani was convicted by a jury in November 2019. During trial, the evidence demonstrated that on June 1, 2019, Dhavamani engaged in conversations with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old female, but was actually an undercover law enforcement officer. Dhavamani initially communicated with the person via a cell phone social messaging and dating application and later via text messages. After discussing having sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old, Dhavamani traveled from near Ghent to Bluefield, Virginia, to meet the purported minor in order to engage in sexual intercourse.

Sexton was convicted by a jury in January 2020. At trial, evidence revealed that Sexton began communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a 13-year-old girl on a social messaging and dating application on approximately May 28, 2019. During the conversations, Sexton brought up the topic of oral sex with the purported minor. At approximately 1 a.m. on June 1, 2019, Sexton traveled from Bluefield, Virginia, to Bluefield, West Virginia, to meet the alleged 13-year-old after telling her to sneak out of her house. On May 31, 2019, Sexton had also reached out to chat with two other law enforcement officers posing as minors on the same messaging application, discussing oral sex with one officer who stated she was only 14 years old.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s West Virginia Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, in conjunction with the West Virginia State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, conducted the investigations. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the hearings. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald handled the prosecutions.

These cases were 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.

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated June 2, 2020