SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Nicholas Perry, 36, of Sacramento, and Eric Johnston, 23, of Folsom, pleaded guilty today to attempted enticement of a minor, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on May 29, 2012, an undercover detective with the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force responded to a Craigslist advertisement posted by Brandon Marks in which Marks sought to acquire children’s underwear. After a week of online and cellphone communications, Marks agreed to meet the undercover detective in order to have sex with the detective’s fictional 13-year-old child.
Following his arrest, Marks allowed law enforcement to assume his online identity. One of the people with whom Marks was communicating with was Perry. Prior to meeting with law enforcement, Marks had told Perry through email that he was “meeting a dad and his daughter and taking pics ;).” After assuming Marks’s identity, law enforcement (posing as Marks) offered to introduce Perry to the daughter. Perry communicated with Johnston about the meeting and offered to introduce Johnston to the fictional father.
After being introduced, each defendant communicated directly via email with law enforcement about the fictional 13-year-old. Perry and Johnston agreed to meet Marks, the father, and his daughter in order to have sex with the daughter.
Following his arrival at the meeting location, Johnston was arrested. After his arrest, Johnston received a text message from Perry asking if he was there. Law enforcement responded to Perry (posing as Johnston), and told Perry that he had arrived and that he was waiting with the father and daughter. Perry arrived approximately 45 minutes later and was arrested. Both defendants have been in federal custody since their arrest.
Marks pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in May 2013.
Perry and Johnston are scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, 2014. They each face a statutory penalty of no less than 10 years and up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.
This case s 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 the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.