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Press Release

Washington County Man Traveled across State Line to Have Sex with a Minor

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

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Washington County, Pa., has pleaded guilty to charges of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Joseph Sabot, age 27, pleaded guilty to the felony count before United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr.

According to information presented to the Court at the time of the guilty plea, in 2010, when Sabot was 22 years old, he met a 15-year old female from Wheeling, West Virginia, through an online website. He met her in person shortly thereafter, and traveled to and from his residence in Washington, Pa., to her residence in Wheeling on numerous occasions between 2010 and 2012, on which occasions he engaged in sexual acts with the girl. In July of 2012, after bringing her back to his residence for a sexual encounter, Sabot asked the girl to hide in his garage until his parents went to sleep. Sabot’s father, who did not know her, found her in the garage and demanded that she leave the property. The girl then called 911, as she did not have a way to get back to Wheeling. After the North Franklin Police responded to her call, the joint investigation involving the North Franklin Police and the FBI was initiated, leading to the charges in this case.

Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing for June 8, 2016. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, 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 Shaun E. Sweeney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and North Franklin Township Police Department 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

Updated March 3, 2016

Project Safe Childhood