BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – A federal jury convicted a Virginia man who traveled to West Virginia to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
The jury found Jeffrey William Sexton, Jr., 27, of Virginia Beach, guilty of traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor on June 1, 2019.
“As a dad, I cannot adequately describe how much matters like this trouble me. Cases like this are disturbing and difficult to work. Sexton thought he was traveling to engage in sex with a 13-year-old and, to the nightmare of every parent, even encouraged her to sneak out of her house,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “We are blessed that Sexton was communicating with an undercover officer and not a real 13-year-old. We are doing everything within our power to keep West Virginia’s children safe from predators like Sexton.”
Sexton had previously been charged with travel to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor. At trial, evidence revealed that Sexton began communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a 13-year-old girl on a social messaging and dating application on May 28, 2019. During the conversations, Sexton brought up oral sex with the purported minor. At 1 a.m. on June 1, 2019, Sexton traveled to Bluefield, West Virginia, to meet the 13-year-old after telling her to sneak out of her house. On May 31, 2019, Sexton had also reached out to chat with two other law enforcement officers posing as minors on the same messaging application, discussing oral sex with one officer posing as a 14-year-old.
Sexton faces up to thirty years in prison when sentenced on May 19, 2020.
The investigation was the result of an undercover operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s West Virginia Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which included task force officers from the Raleigh and Mercer County Sheriffs’ Departments.
Senior United States Senior Judge David A. Faber presided over the trial. Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Rada Herrald and Kathleen Robeson handled the prosecution.