Defendant Believed He Was Driving to Plainfield to Meet a 14-Year-Old for Sex
A 65-year-old registered sex offender, with two prior convictions relating to possession of child pornography and attempted sexual conduct with minors, was found guilty today of attempting to produce child pornography, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, transporting child pornography, possessing child pornography and offense by a registered sex offender.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler for the Southern District of Indiana made the announcement. The verdict was rendered by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, the defendant, John Alan Lewis, met an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old online in November 2011. From November 2011 until May of 2012, Lewis sent and received numerous images depicting a minor under the age of twelve engaging in sexually explicit conduct via emails with this individual, who actually was an adult male registered sex offender living in Queens, New York. Following the arrest of the individual in the Eastern District of New York, in August of 2012, law enforcement assumed this individual’s online identity and engaged in a series of online chats where the defendant expressed his desire to travel from Ohio to Indiana, pick the 14-year-old up, and take her to a motel to engage in sexual acts with her.
On Sept. 19, 2012, the defendant rented a car in Lima, Ohio, and drove to Plainfield, Indiana. He was arrested when he arrived at the agreed-upon meeting location. The defendant had in his possession three electronic devices, each of which contained images depicting a minor, between the ages of 10 and 12, fully nude and engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Lewis has been in federal custody since he was arrested in September of 2012. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
The investigation was conducted by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Cyber Crime Unit, the Indiana State Police Cyber Crime Unit, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section and the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is made up of federal and state law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by Criminal Division Trial Attorney Amy E. Larson of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Senior Litigation Counsel Steven D. DeBrota of the Southern District of Indiana.
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 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.