Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced today that JAMES EARLY was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas to 25years in prison for enticing two different minors to engage in illegal sexual activity. The sentencing today followed EARLY’s guilty plea on November 13, 2019.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “This case underlines the urgent need for law enforcement to continue its efforts to protect children from those who prey on them. As today’s sentencing underscores, we will continue to use every tool available to law enforcement to prosecute and punish those who sexually exploit children.”
HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said: “The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime and today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those who victimize the most vulnerable amongst us will be held accountable for their actions. The identification and rescue of child victims of sexual exploitation is one of Homeland Security Investigations top priorities. HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously investigate those who prey on children.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in related court proceedings:
From in or about July 2015 to March 2017, EARLY engaged in sexually explicit communications by text with a female minor (“Victim-1”) in Sullivan County, New York. In connection with these sexually explicit communications, EARLY persuaded Victim-1 to engage in sexually explicit activity, photograph and video it, and transmit it to him via text. Victim-1 was 15 when they began their online communications. Victim-1 sent EARLY numerous sexually explicit photos in direct response to directions she received from EARLY, instructing her exactly what he wanted to see her do. In addition, on numerous occasions, EARLY sent images of his erect penis to Victim-1 and also images of him masturbating.
From in or about the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2017, EARLY persuaded, induced, and enticed a female minor (“Victim-2”) to engage in illegal sexual activity in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. EARLY’s sexual abuse of Victim-2 began when Victim-2 was entering 8th grade and was 14 years old.
In October 2017, a search warrant of EARLY’s residence was executed in connection with the investigation. Sexually explicit images and videos of Victim-2 were recovered during the search, as well as hundreds of other images of child pornography.
In addition to the prison term, EARLY, 40, of Selinsgrove, Pennyslvania, was sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release.
Ms. Strauss praised the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations and the New York State Police in this investigation.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Marcia S. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.