Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2007/01/23 06:42
Gary B. Evans, 58, of Cocoa Beach, Fla., was sentenced today before Chief Judge Patricia C. Fawsett in U.S. District Court in Orlando. Evans was ordered to forfeit his interest in his house, various computers and electronic equipment, and two cashierâ€™s checks totaling $24,000.
Evans was arrested on May 11, 2006, and indicted on May 23, 2006, on one count of conspiring to arrange the travel of an individual for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct and one count of arranging such travel. After Evansâ€™ computers were seized and examined, agents discovered digital images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. On August 9, 2006, a superseding indictment was returned which added one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Evans pleaded guilty on October 23, 2006, before Magistrate Judge David A. Baker to one count of conspiring to arrange for the travel of a person to engage in illicit sexual conduct â€“ specifically, a commercial sex act with a person under 18 years of age.
According to the plea agreement, in August 2005, Evans contacted the operator of a Web site which purported to sell "sex tour" packages to overseas locations. According to the Web site, the tour price would include an under-age companion who would have sex with the traveler. Evans proposed a partnership with the operator of the Web site in which they would jointly operate tours to Honduras and Costa Rica, where clients would pay to have sex with minors. However, the Web site was actually part of an undercover investigation being conducted by FBI agents who are part of the Innocent Images task force based in Calverton, Md.
Starting in September 2005 and continuing for several months, undercover agents exchanged several emails, and had numerous online and phone conversations with Evans and his associate in Honduras. Ultimately, Evans agreed to arrange for two clients to travel to Honduras to engage in sex with two girls, ages 16 and 14 respectively. The ultimate price for the hotel, expenses and sex was $2,260, paid in three installments.
On May 6, 2006, undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Securityâ€™s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) met three associates of Evans in Honduras. The three associates ultimately brought two girls, who appeared to be between the ages of 14 and 16, to the hotel. After briefly meeting the girls, the undercover agents told the associates that they had to return to the United States to attend to an emergency. At that point, the girls safely left the hotel.
As part of the plea agreement, Evans admits he possessed images of real children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He also admits that the images depicted prepubescent children, and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct. He further admits he possessed more than 150 images of child pornography. Finally, Evans admits that during the time of the offense, he engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of minors.
This case is being investigated by ICE and the FBI. The Brevard County, Fla. Sheriffâ€™s Office is also assisting. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vincent Citro of the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorney Alexandra Gelber of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Justice Departmentâ€™s Criminal Division.