HARRISONBURG, Va. – A Stuarts Draft man pleaded guilty Tuesday to traveling in foreign commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Harrisonburg Police Department.
James Daniel Arbaugh, 40, faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The court will determine the appropriate sentence after considering federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. sentencing guidelines. The defendant will be sentenced on June 13 at 10:30 a.m.
According to a factual proffer presented to the court at Tuesday’s hearing, Arbaugh admitted to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors while traveling in Haiti between 2008 and 2017. While traveling in Haiti, Arbaugh regularly visited communities and villages throughout the country, including remote villages, where he evangelized and showed Christian-themed movies. While engaging in these missionary activities, Arbaugh befriended, groomed, and ultimately engaged in illicit sexual conduct with multiple, minor male children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old.
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 16,000 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 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 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 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.