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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fort Smith Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking of a Child

            Fayetteville, Arkansas - Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Lance Bradley Williams, aka “Crush, aka “Lil’ Crush”, age 24, of Fort Smith, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison followed by five (5) years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $3,600 fine on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of a Child.  The sentencing hearing took place before the Honorable Timothy L. Brooks in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.  

            According to court records, on August 27, 2015, a 17-year-old female was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  She reported that she had run away from home and came in contact with Randall Steward, a co-conspirator of Williams, of Fort Smith in early June of 2015.  She stated she worked as a prostitute for Steward out of a Fayetteville, Arkansas hotel and that backpage.com was used to advertise her as a prostitute. Agents were able to obtain records from the Fayetteville hotel and backpage.com to corroborate the information that the minor female victim had provided.  Steward was indicted by a federal grand jury in October, 2015 and pleaded guilty to the charge.  He was sentenced on September 22, 2016 to 12 ½ years in federal prison and five (5) years of supervised release.   

            Through the investigation of Steward, law enforcement was able to identify Lance Bradley Williams as a co-conspirator who was involved with Steward in trafficking the 17-year old girl. Records show that the cell phone number used in the backpage.com ads to advertise the minor female victim was purchased by Williams.  At the time the phone was purchased, Williams knew that the phone was to be used to advertise the girl on backpage.com for the purpose of prostitution.  Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2016 and pleaded guilty on August 17, 2016. 

            “The outcome of this case serves as a sobering warning to those engaged in the sex trafficking of minors and the severe consequences for those who commit such crimes,” said Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Little Rock. “Together with our federal and local partners at the United States Attorney’s Office, Fort Smith Police Department, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, and Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, we will continue to pursue and prosecute anyone who engages in the vile exploitation of our children.”

            This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fort Smith Police Department, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office and Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Aaron Jennen prosecuted the case for the United States.

            This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and their Criminal Division Child Exploitation and Obscenity Sections (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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Related court documents may be found on Public Access to Electronic Records Website @www.Pacer.gov

Topic: 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated December 21, 2016