PENSACOLA, Fla. - Kenneth Eugene Haynes, 60, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was sentenced in federal court Thursday for attempting to entice a minor female over the Internet and traveling to Alabama to engage in sexual activity with her.
The sentence was the result of a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fairhope Police Department, and the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The two-count indictment alleged that between September and October of last year, Haynes engaged in a series of Internet chats with who he believed was a 15-year-old girl. Haynes eventually admitted writing the girl on multiple occasions and making plans during the course of these chats to pick her up in Alabama and take her out on his boat for sexual activity.
Haynes traveled to Alabama to pick up the victim on Oct. 1, 2010, bringing with him a sex toy and lubricant. Upon arrival at the meeting point, Haynes learned the minor was actually an undercover agent from the FBI.
Haynes was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison to be followed by five years' supervised release. He will also have to register as a sex offender. Part of the sentence requires Haynes to forfeit the items he used to facilitate the crime. These include the Mercedes-Benz he drove to pick up the victim, the 31.8-foot Regal boat he was going to use with the victim, as well as computer equipment, cameras, and cellular telephones.
During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers questioned why a well-educated businessman would engage in such criminal activity. Before imposing sentence, Judge Rodgers informed Haynes of the "severity of the consequences" when one victimizes children.
"This sentencing demonstrates the serious consequences that await those who would sexually prey upon and exploit children," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa. "Through our partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, ICE will continue to police cyber space to investigate child predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law."
The investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
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.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida.