JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to entice a minor, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Jeffrey Charles Johnson, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Johnson to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.
On Jan. 21, 2020, Johnson pleaded guilty to attempting to entice a minor for illicit sex. Johnson admitted that he responded to a post on a website frequented by prostitutes, asking another person to help him find a juvenile female for a sexual encounter. A detective with the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department then assumed the identity of a single mother who was willing to allow Johnson to have sex with her 13-year-old daughter.
Johnson communicated with undercover law enforcement officers on several occasions and arranged to meet the mother and daughter at a Columbia, Mo., motel on Aug. 7, 2019. Johnson was arrested when he arrived at the motel.
According to court documents, Johnson has previously engaged in this type of conduct. In September 2012, Johnson’s former wife discovered a bag containing numerous VCR tapes. On two of the tapes, Johnson discusses his desire to have sexual relations with a minor. On one of the tapes, Johnson states he would pay $500 to have sexual relations with a 15-to-16-year-old child. On another tape, Johnson speaks with a woman who tells him she has a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old child in mind and could get him a child as young as 10. Johnson tells the woman 10 years old is too young, and he would prefer a child 12-to-13 years old. The woman and Johnson discuss a price of $800 for the children. It is unknown whether Johnson followed through with the commercial sex transaction in 2012.
As part of this investigation, images depicting child pornography were located on a tower computer hard drive with file names suggesting they were downloaded using peer-to-peer file-sharing software.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley S. Turner. It was investigated by the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force and the FBI.
Project Safe Childhood
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.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."