CLEVELAND — The fourth and final defendant in an undercover sex tourism sting was sentenced Thursday following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Jonathan Waltman, 26, from Nashport, Ohio, was sentenced to nearly 25 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to attempting to transport an individual in foreign commerce to engage in prostitution and attempting to travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
The sentence was announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge, HSI Michigan and Ohio.
Waltman is the fourth and final person sentenced as part of Operation Traverse, an undercover sex tourism investigation.
"The details that emerged from this investigation are chilling and should serve as a caution for parents everywhere," Dettelbach said. "These convictions help keep children safe, both children here and around the world."
"All of the individuals sentenced in this case attempted to sexually exploit children but found that there is a strong barrier that exists between predators and children: law enforcement," Moskowitz said. "I would like to commend the exceptional work of a very dedicated team of special agents, prosecutors and support staff to continue to stand on the front lines to protect children from predators."
Other sentences previously handed out include: Zachery Casey, 39, of Millersburg, Ohio, sentenced to 20 years in prison; Peter Beichl, 50, of Albstadt, Germany, sentenced to 17 years in prison; Otto Linzenbach, 63, of Leipzig, Germany, sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Waltman knowingly attempted and conspired to transport an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years, that is an 8 year-old girl, in foreign commerce, from Canada to the State of Michigan, with the intent that such 8 year-old girl engage in prostitution and sexual activity for which Waltman could be charged with a criminal offense, according to court documents.
In addition, Waltman knowingly attempted to travel in interstate commerce, from Ohio to Michigan, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with an 8 year-old girl.
The conduct took place between June 15, 2010 and July 25, 2010, according to court documents.
This case was prosecuted by Northern District of Ohio Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Sullivan.
This investigation was 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.