COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio man was indicted Thursday on charges of producing child pornography, coercion and enticement of a juvenile, and for interstate travel to engage a minor in illegal sexual conduct.
The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Justin S. Mote, 41, of Marysville, Ohio, allegedly drove to Connecticut in August 2012 and recorded sex acts with a 12-year-old girl he met online.
The indictment was announced by Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, William Hayes, acting special agent in charge of HSI in Michigan and Ohio, and members of the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
The indictment alleges that Mote met a 12-year-old girl online and went to Connecticut to visit her in August 2012. Franklin County ICAC investigators received information from a Newton, Conn., police officer Oct. 16 after the girl's father found letters, text messages and gifts from Mote.
Investigators executed a search warrant at Mote's residence Oct. 19 and found fully nude photographs of the victim on a tablet computer belonging to Mote.
Mote, who was already under indictment on state charges of attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor and importuning for a separate August 2011 incident, was arrested in October 2012 by HSI special agents. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.
Production of child pornography is punishable by at least 15 years and up to 30 years in prison. Coercion of a minor is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison. Interstate travel to engage a minor in illegal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Stewart commended the investigation by HSI special agents and task force officers, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Hill, who is prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE 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.
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.