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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 17, 2018

Arkansas Man Admits Coercing a Minor to Engage in Illegally Sexual Activity

PITTSBURGH, PA- A former resident of Van Buren, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Alastair Lee Stewart, 27, pleaded guilty to one count before Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from November 15, 2016 to March 27, 2017, Stewart engaged in internet conversations with a 12 year-old female over a chatting application called "Live Me," and later communicated with the victim over Skype, Snapchat, and text message. Stewart then traveled from Van Buren, Arkansas to Pennsylvania and arranged to meet the victim at her grandfather’s residence, where he sexually assaulted her in a motor home on the property on March 24 and March 25, 2017. Stewart fled the area on March 26, 2017.

Chief Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for April 26, 2019. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Stewart remains incarcerated pending the sentencing hearing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica L. Smolar and Christy C. Wiegand are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' 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 individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated December 17, 2018