Hardin County Man Sentenced for Attempting to Entice a Child

BEAUMONT, June 4, 2015 - A 47-year-old Kountze, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Raymond Edward Russ, Jr., pleaded guilty on Oct. 17, 2014, to coercion and enticement involving the sexual exploitation of a child and was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison on June 2, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

According to information presented in court, on May 2, 2014, law enforcement officers became aware of a Craigslist advertisement posted by a person identified as Russ seeking a young female for sexual activity. An undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl named Ashley contacted Russ and began corresponding online. During the next 20 days, Russ and “Ashley” engaged in email conversations about “Ashley’s” sexual experiences and that she was only 13. Russ also provided a photo of himself to Ashley. On May 20, 2014, Russ began aggressively pursuing Ashley and attempting to entice her to meet for sexual activity. Russ arranged to pick Ashley up from an apartment complex on Folsom in Beaumont. Russ arrived at the apartment complex and was detained. Russ was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 24, 2015.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's 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.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Englade.

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