Nebraska Man Indicted With Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a Minor

DENVER (Lawfuel) – Troy A. Eid, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Jeffrey Copp, Special Agent in Charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Colorado, announced the indictment of TERRY L. MORRIS, age 44, of Harrisburg, Nebraska, on charges of traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on April 21, 2008. MORRIS surrendered to authorities without incident this morning. He was then advised of the charges pending against him by a U.S. Magistrate Judge. A detention hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 10:30 am.

The indictment charges that on April 4, 2007, the defendant traveled from Nebraska to Douglas County, Colorado, to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under eighteen (18) years of age. The indictment further alleges that from February 7, 2007, through April 4, 2007, the defendant used a facility of interstate commerce (in this case, a computer), to knowingly entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. In this case the defendant was actually in contact with a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Detective who posed as a 12-year-old girl.

“Protecting Colorado’s children from ‘sexual tourists’ is a top priority,” said U.S. Attorney Troy Eid.

“Anyone who crosses state lines to have sex with a 12-year-old girl is a significant threat to all children,” said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. “Under our Operation Predator program, ICE has arrested more than 11,000 people nationwide who have sexually exploited children. We will continue to work cooperatively with our law enforcement partners to bring these predators to justice.” Copp oversees a four-state area that includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

If convicted of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, the defendant faces a penalty of not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. If convicted of attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, the defendant faces a penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life imprisonment, and up to a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is being prosecuted by Project Safe Childhood coordinator Assistant United States Attorney Roxane Perruso.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by 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 http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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