COLUMBUS, Ohio – John C. Fortner, 44, of Chillicothe, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 240 months in prison for attempting to coerce a minor while registered as a sex offender.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin, as well as members of both the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Task Force and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to court documents, a task force officer with the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force was posing undercover online as the mother of minor children. In August 2017, the officer posted a web advertisement stating he was looking to chat with people interested in “taboo fetishes.”
Fortner emailed the officer asking “can we do your daughter or son?”
Fortner asked to be connected to “any other that would let me f***” and began communicating with a second undercover officer, who investigates cyber crime with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. He told that officer he heard the persona had a nice daughter who was 13 years old. He asked “you and your daughter play with guys much?” Fortner also asked if the daughter was cute and offered to meet with them.
Fortner and the officer planned to meet in a public place, and, if the meeting went well, to later meet in a hotel for sexual purposes.
On August 21, 2017, Fortner asked the officer to pick him up at a gas station in Chillicothe for their meeting. Fortner was subsequently arrested.
Fortner was convicted in 2015 in Texas for possession of child pornography and in 2016 in Belmont County, Ohio for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. As a result, he was a registered sex offender at the time of his new offense.
Fortner pleaded guilty in this current case in May 2018.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force and the Franklin County ICAC, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Heather A. Hill and Noah R. Litton, who are representing the United States in this case.
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