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Press Release

Virginia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Minor

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

BECKLEY, W.Va. - A Virginia man was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison for attempted sex trafficking of a minor.

According to court documents, Jamie Otis Southern, 50, of Tazewell County, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty and admitted in June 2020 he contacted a woman on Craigslist who identified herself as a mother who would allow him to have sex with her children in exchange for money. During the conversation, Southern arranged to have the woman travel from Beckley to a hotel in Princeton with the 11- and 14-year-old girls the woman stated were her daughters. Southern would then pay approximately $400 plus the cost of the hotel room in order to engage in oral sex and sexual intercourse with the children.  Southern further admitted that in July 2020 he possessed images and videos of suspected child pornography on an SD card in his cell phone.

Upon release from prison, Southern will be placed on federal supervised release for a period of 15 years and be required to register as a sex offender.

Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. 

United States District Judge Frank W. Volk imposed the sentence.  Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald handled the prosecution. 

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. 5:20-cr-00117.





Updated September 10, 2021

Project Safe Childhood