Keith Larson, 41, of Louisville, Colo., was arraigned Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd on charges of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 12, and traveling with intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct with a minor. According to the indictment handed down Wednesday, Larson allegedly crossed state lines from Colorado to California earlier this month believing he was going to have sexual contact with a girl under 12.
Larson was arrested Dec. 9 at the San Jose International Airport and made his initial appearance in federal court in San Jose the following day. He is currently being held in the Santa Clara County Jail on $150,000 bond.
The aggravated sexual abuse charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and up to life in prison, as well as a fine of $250,000. The maximum statutory penalty for traveling with intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct with a minor is 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amie D. Rooney aided by Tracey Andersen. HSI conducted the probe in conjunction with the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force based at the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Both HSI and the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office are active members of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The case is a result of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children. Under Operation Predator, HSI is seeking 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or its online resource for reporting child sexual exploitation.
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.