SCRANTON , PA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Joan Perez, age 20, of Utica, New York, was indicted on February 23, 2021, by a federal grand jury for online enticement of a minor and interstate travel with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor.
According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment alleges that Perez used his cellphone to entice and coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Perez travelled to Pennsylvania in order to engage in a sexual act with said minor.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Philadelphia Division, the Scranton Police Department, and the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney James Buchanan is prosecuting the case.
Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalties under federal law for these offenses is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”