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Press Release

Texas Man Admits Trying to Coerce a Minor to Have Sex with Him

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Arlington, Texas, 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 David J. Hickton announced today.

Ray Wickliffe Howland, 56, of Arlington, Texas, pleaded guilty before Senior United States District Judge Gustave Diamond.

In connection with the guilty plea, on or about June 25, 2015, Howland used facilities and means of interstate and foreign commerce, specifically a computer, an iPad, the Internet and the telephone, to knowingly attempt to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Senior United States District Judge Gustave Diamond scheduled the sentencing for Oct. 19, 2016, at 11 a.m. The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of $750,000.00, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Howland.

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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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

Updated June 27, 2016

Project Safe Childhood