The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced a big day for cleaning up child sex trafficking and exploitation across the world under it’s Project Safe Childhood program.
There were a total of six cases that went before justices on Wednesday within the system that related to adult males exploiting children, keeping in line with U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s resolve to dismantle operations throughout the world.
Most unsettling about the cases were that three of the men were not only positions of authority, but from respected professions, including an Army soldier, a policeman and a teacher.
Project Safe Childhood is 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that a U.S. Army soldier, Daniel Kemp Sr., 51, of Cameron, North Carolina, was sentenced today to life in prison, after pleading guilty in December,to one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
According to facts presented in the guilty plea hearings, Kemp Sr. was employed by the U.S. Army as an active duty member when he forcibly raped a minor victim. After an investigation into the sexual assault was underway, his wife, Shanynn Kemp, intentionally harassed and dissuaded a witness from disclosing to law enforcement information about the sexual offense.
In another case, retired police officer James Dean Kalani Goeas, 63, of Waipahu, Hawaii, was sentenced in federal court by United States District Judge Jill Otake to 120 months of imprisonment, and 15 years of supervised released for knowingly attempting to entice an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
Goeas engaged in a series of online chats and telephonic text sessions with an undercover agent acting in the role of a 13-year-old male. During their conversations, Goeas arranged to meet the underage male at Maukalani Park with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
When Goeas arrived at Maukalani Park on March 24, agents arrested him. At the time of Goeas’s arrest, agents located both condoms and lubricating gel in his vehicle. During a post-arrest statement, Goeas admitted to past unlawful sexual contact with minor males.
In Madison, WI, two indictments were handed down involving sex trafficking of a minor and child pornography charges.
Alan J. Liphart, 36, of Darlington, Wisconsin, was charged with receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct from an incident in September, in which he allegedly received a child pornography image via text message, and that on May 25, 2020, he possessed a TracFone that contained child pornography depictions and that at least one of the depictions involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.
If convicted, Liphart faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the charge of receiving child pornography, and 10 years on the possession of child pornography charge.
The second case there involves an Altoona, WI man, Daniel Peggs, 33, who was charged in a superseding indictment with sex trafficking a minor, two counts of producing child pornography, one count of possessing child pornography, and two counts of receiving child pornography.
Peggs previously was charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on February 12, 2020, with sex trafficking a minor and one count of producing child pornography.
The superseding indictment alleges that from October 2015 through May 2016, Peggs recruited a minor knowing that the minor would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act; that he produced two videos of sexually explicit conduct using the minor; that he possessed a computer hard drive that contained depictions of child pornography and that at least one of the depictions involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age; and that twice he knowingly received child pornography images via text message.
Peggs’ trial is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2020 and he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison on the sex trafficking a minor charge, a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years on each production of child pornography charge, a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years on each receiving child pornography charge, and a maximum of 20 years on the possession of child pornography charge.
In the District of Massachusetts, prosecutors, Leslie Fisher with the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti charged an American male, Michael Sebastian, 52, with engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and sex trafficking of children. Sebastian was arrested yesterday in Lynn, Massachusetts, where he has been living with his mother.
According to the charging documents, Sebastian has been living in Laos, where he teaches English to Laotian youth. During at least the past two years, Sebastian provided housing to at least three boys, aged 13 through 18, to whom he taught English. In lieu of paying rent to live with him, Sebastian allegedly allowed the boys to pay off their rent by performing chores.
According to allegations in the complaint, these chores included giving Sebastian massages – which, in turn, included masturbating Sebastian.
U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Michael Shore, 35, of Richboro, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, lifetime supervised release, a prohibition on contact with any of his victims or their families, and a lifetime restriction on his Internet usage by United States District Court Judge Timothy R. Savage for manufacturing child pornography involving multiple victims, as well as enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
His sentence also requires him to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law for the rest of his life.
At least two of his victims he met at Comic-Con, which is an annual entertainment and comic book convention held in San Diego, where he worked with his family.
Shore had more than 2,500 images of child pornography that Shore had downloaded and saved from the Internet over an eight year period.
Shore confessed to the FBI on the day they searched his home, and later pleaded guilty to a 10-count federal indictment charging him with manufacturing, distributing, and possessing child pornography, as well as enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
“Michael Shore is a serial sexual predator who took advantage of some of the most vulnerable among us – young children, one of whom has autism. This criminal behavior is reprehensible,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain.
Swain continued, “Further, at least one of these children will continue to be victimized for years to come because Shore shared explicit images of her on the Internet with others. Fortunately, he will now sit behind bars where he belongs for many years, unable to victimize anyone else in the meantime.”
“The FBI takes a proactive approach to identify and hold accountable individuals who seek to sexually exploit children. We remain vigilant and are committed to ensure that the children of Hawaii and across the United States are protected from these predators. Today’s sentencing reaffirms the FBI’s commitment to removing sexual predators from children’s lives and doing it through the justice system,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Eli S. Miranda of the Honolulu field office.