CONCORD- Jean Fouad Yazbek, 63, of Norwood, Massachusetts, was sentenced in federal court on Friday to 24 months in prison for traveling to New Hampshire with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2018, members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted an undercover investigation targeting online sexual offenders. As part of this investigation, a detective created an undercover online persona of a 15-year-old girl (“UC”) residing in Nashua, New Hampshire. Various individuals, including Yazbek, began messaging the UC on social media soon after the account was registered. Beginning on October 2, 2018, and continuing through October 8, 2018, Yazbek engaged in sexually-charged conversations over social media with the UC. In their conversations, Yazbek discussed his desire to engage in various sex acts, including sexual intercourse, with the UC whom he believed was a 15-year-old girl.
On October 8, 2018, Yazbek drove from Massachusetts to Nashua, New Hampshire, to meet the UC and engage in illicit sexual conduct at a local hotel. When Yazbek arrived, he encountered law enforcement officers instead and was placed under arrest. Yazbek admitted that he had planned to meet a 15-year-old girl whom he had met online. He further admitted that he intended to engage in illicit sexual conduct, including sexual intercourse, with the girl. According to Yazbek, he had checked into a local hotel prior to his arrest, and his hotel room contained a brand new phone, a teddy bear, undergarments, and a backpack containing shaving equipment, lubricant, and condoms. Yazbek gave written consent to search his hotel room. Officers later searched his hotel room and found the items described by Yazbek during his interview.
Yazbek previously pleaded guilty on May 14, 2019.
“Protecting the well-being of our children is a high priority of the law enforcement community,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “It is disturbing that criminals are lurking online and seeking to prey upon children in the Granite State. Thankfully, this defendant’s efforts to victimize a young girl were thwarted by excellent law enforcement work. Predators who use the internet should be aware that law enforcement officers will be alert and watching. We will not hesitate to bring federal charges against those who threaten the safety of children in New Hampshire.”
“Yazbek thought he was traveling across state lines to have sex with a 15 year old, but his fantasy came to an abrupt end when he found himself in handcuffs” said Jason J. Molina, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Boston. “Today’s sentencing should send a strong message to those who seek to sexually exploit children – state lines will not impede the efforts of the law enforcement community in safeguarding our children and bringing predators to face justice.”
This matter was investigated by the Nashua Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam Le.
In February 2006, the Department of Justice introduced Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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