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Press Release

Coercion of a Minor to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity Leads to 10 Year Federal Prison Sentence for New Orleans Man

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. - United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced the sentencing of Kentrell Knighten, 39, of New Orleans, for coercion of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. United States District Judge James D. Cain, Jr. sentenced Knighten to 121 months (10 years, 1 month) in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release.

On September 13, 2022, the friend of a 15-year-old female high school student (“minor victim”) observed Knighten texting the minor victim. Knighten was the boyfriend of the minor victim’s mother. According to the friend, in those text messages the defendant discussed the fact that he was inquiring how much he would have to pay her to have sex with one or more of his friends from another city in Louisiana.

The minor victim’s friend told the school counselor what she had observed, and law enforcement was contacted. Law enforcement agents were able to seize and search the minor victim’s cell phone pursuant to a search warrant and interviewed the minor victim. Specific text messages were found in the phone in which Knighten asked the minor victim how much she would charge to have sex with his friends in graphic terms. These messages occurred in September 2022. In the text messages, the minor victim expressed fear of being alone with other adults. The defendant assured her that he would be in the room and that she would get paid between $75-100.  Knighten admitted to law enforcement agents that he texted with the victim and that he discussed the minor victim engaging in sexual acts with other adult men for money.

"We urge parents to be keenly aware of who they allow around their children and into their homes,” stated U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown. “Child exploitation touches every corner of our community. This office will be vigilant in protecting our youth and prosecute all who try to disrupt the American family through criminal activity. We look forward to this defendant serving a lengthy prison sentence and an even longer period of court supervision once released.” 

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Luke Walker.

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Updated September 13, 2023

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