EL PASO – A federal jury convicted 59-year-old Travis Wayne Vavra of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and of possession of child pornography.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that Vavra was a long-haul truck driver who advertised free amusement park passes and cross-country trips for boys to explore the United States. As a result of the advertisement, Vavra transported a minor in his tractor trailer from the El Paso, Texas area to different states, including New Mexico, Missouri, Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Louisiana from May 2015 to June 2019. Vavra sexually assaulted the minor during these cross-country trips which began when the victim was nine years old. Vavra had also previously molested two other victims. On the date of his arrest, Vavra posted another flyer for parents and boys advertising these free cross-country trips. Vavra was found to be in possession of child sexual abuse material on his phone at the time of his arrest.
Vavra remains in federal custody. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years up to life in federal prison on the transportation of minors charge and up to 20 years in federal prison for the possession of child pornography. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Coburn made today’s announcement.
The FBI investigated and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Valenzuela and Richard Watts are prosecuting this case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.