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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 4, 2019

Ross Twp. Man Illegally Used the Internet and His Cell Phone in an Attempt to Meet a 14-Year-Old Boy for Sex

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Ross Township, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of Attempted Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Thomas Perry Stultz, age 37, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from February 6, 2019 until on or about April 5, 2019, Stultz used a facility or means of interstate commerce, specifically the Internet and over a cellular phone network, to communicate with an undercover agent, believing the agent to be a minor, to knowingly attempt to persuade, induce, entice and coerce the purported minor to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. Stultz believed the undercover agent to be a 14-year-old boy and, through his Internet and text communications, attempted to persuade the minor to meet him to engage in illegal sexual activity. Stultz made several arrangements to meet with the purported minor that fell through. Each time, Stultz reinitiated contact with the undercover agent. During one conversation, Stultz reassured the purported minor, texting: "This isn’t pretend at all. I’m actually very interested in meeting you." On April 5, 2019, through text messages, Stultz made plans to meet with the purported minor. The plan was to go back to Stultz’s residence to engage in sexual activity. Law enforcement arrested Stultz as he arrived at the predetermined meeting location.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2019. The law provides for a total sentence of 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.

Pending sentencing, the court revoked defendant’s bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Heidi M. Grogan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Stultz.

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 November 4, 2019