Real Stories Project

05/10/10: Man, 43, meet teen girl

January 17, 2007

Contact: Ian Thornhill

Acting United States Attorney Judith A. Whetstine announced today that a man who used the Internet to entice a minor to have sex with him for money pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

RICHARD LAVERN FLEMING, 43, from Tipton, Iowa, pled guilty to Coercion and Enticement of a Minor for sex.

At the plea hearing, FLEMING admitted that, in early 2006, he used his home computer and the Internet to meet a 17-year-old Iowa girl and arranged to have sex with her for money at least three times. FLEMING paid the girl between $200 and $250 for each meeting.

FLEMING also admitted that, in September and October 2006, he used the Internet to solicit a person he believed was a 14-year-old Iowa girl for sex in exchange for money. On this occasion, however, FLEMING was actually communicating with a law enforcement officer working undercover.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. FLEMING remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. FLEMING faces a possible maximum sentence of at least 5 and up to 30 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and 3 years to life of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ian K. Thornhill and was investigated by the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. This case was filed as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, and to identify and rescue victims.