DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Georges Najjar, age 33, of San Diego, California, was sentenced earlier this week by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock to serve 135 months (over 11 years) in federal prison for traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, United States Attorney Troy Eid and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Copp announced. Following his prison sentence, Najjar was ordered to spend 5 years on supervised release. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender. Judge Babcock ordered Najjar, a national of Beirut, Lebanon, to be taken into custody immediately to begin serving his prison sentence. After serving his prison sentence, Najjar will likely be deported.
Georges Najjar was charged by Criminal Complaint on March 17, 2008. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 8, 2008. He pled guilty before then Chief U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham on July 29, 2008. Najjar was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock on November 24, 2008.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on or about January 29, 2008, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent, acting in an undercover capacity, was on line in an Internet Relay Chat room, where she observed an internet post made by an unknown male. The post stated that the man was interested in “sponsoring” a mom and her children. The ICE agent was posing as a 27-year old single mother of two, with a 4-year old girl and a 5-year old boy. The male, later identified as the defendant, chatted via the internet and talked on the phone with the undercover agent on a number of different occasions. During those chats and calls, the defendant stated that he was looking for a physical relationship with the woman as well as her children. The defendant further stated that he was in training to be a school teacher.
The defendant agreed to meet the undercover agent in Denver. On March 14, 2008, the defendant traveled on a flight from San Diego, California to Denver, Colorado, arriving at Denver International Airport (DIA). When he arrived at DIA he was met not only by the undercover agent, he was also met by ICE agents and Denver Police officers. He was arrested and his luggage was seized. Children’s toys, candy, DVDs and other items were found in the luggage.
“So-called ‘sexual tourists’ who prey on Colorado’s children face federal prison,” said United States Attorney Troy Eid.
“This significant prison sentence is representative of the heinous nature of the crime, and the continued danger Mr. Najjar is to children everywhere,” said Jeffrey Copp, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Denver. “ICE active Operation Predator program is designed to work closely with local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies to help protect children from predators like Mr. Najjar.” Copp oversees a four-state area, which includes: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Criminal Investigations, with support from the Denver Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith.
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/.