NORFOLK, Va. – A Tolleson, Arizona, man pleaded guilty today to production of child sexual abuse material.
According to court documents, Ethan Roberts, 28, met a then 14-year-old juvenile online in January 2022. The juvenile lived in Norfolk. Roberts engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the minor for a seven-month period, repeatedly asking her to create and send sexually explicit images of herself to him. In August 2022, Roberts traveled by bus from Arizona to Norfolk. He picked up the minor and the pair traveled back to Roberts’ apartment in Arizona. The FBI was able to locate and rescue the juvenile through her use of her gaming account.
Roberts is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mike Goldsmith, Interim Chief of Norfolk Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Yusi is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc
In 2021, EDVA launched “UnMasked,” a community-based educational outreach and prevention program in Virginia dedicated to raising awareness and educating the community about the prevalence of online sexual exploitation involving children and young adults. UnMasked is a multi-disciplinary partnership of local, state, federal, and non-profit stakeholders. The core curriculum is provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) NetSmartz program. To report an incident involving online sexual exploitation, call 1-800-843-5678 or submit a report at report.cybertip.org. To request an UnMasked event at your school or organization, please contact EDVA’s Community Outreach Coordinator at [email protected].
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:22-cr-141.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24