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Child Exploitation
09/18/2015

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St. Petersburg man sentenced for attempting to entice children online

TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison for attempting to entice and coerce minors to engage in illegal sexual activity, and for transferring obscene matter to individuals he believed were under the age of 16. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to court documents, between Dec.10, 2014, and Feb. 12, 2015, Sandi S. McGann, 30, of St. Petersburg, communicated online and attempted to persuade a 14-year-old "child" to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. The "child" was actually an undercover agent from HSI posing as a ninth grade girl living in Clearwater.

"Predators who target innocent children for their own criminal gratification are warned that law enforcement will not rest until they are brought to justice," said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "HSI, along with our federal, state and local partners, will continue identifying and arresting those who would even attempt to victimize the young and defenseless in such a deplorable way."

Further investigation revealed that McGann had also engaged in sexually explicit online chats with another HSI agent posing as a child online. He also communicated online with a 14-year-old "child" living in California named "Amanda." "Amanda" was actually the founder of the "Demand Project," a nonprofit organization in Oklahoma designed to help law enforcement identify individuals who pose a risk to children. During the various online chat sessions with individuals McGann believed were under the age of 16, McGann repeatedly masturbated while on his webcam.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 12,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. 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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.

HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/21/2015