The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Westfield, Ind., Police Department; the Hamilton County Metro Child Exploitation Task Force; and the Carmel, Ind., Police Department.
Samuel T. Henzel, 29, of Oak Park, Ill., was charged Nov. 1 in the Southern District of Indiana with child enticement and traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 30 Henzel allegedly traveled from his home in Illinois to Westfield, Ind., to meet a 12-year old girl with whom he had been "chatting" on the Internet in order to have sex with her. Following this encounter, the girl immediately reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted by Henzel.
Henzel was arrested by the Westfield Police Department within minutes of the report.
Following his arrest, federal and state authorities decided to charge Henzel in federal court. After an initial hearing Nov. 1 in federal court in Indianapolis, Henzel was ordered held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Nov. 4.
If convicted, Henzel faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Brant Cook, Southern District of Indiana, is prosecuting the case. A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.