Zephyrhills Man Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison For Attempting To Entice 11-Year-Old And 13-Year-Old Children To Engage In Sexual Activity

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Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Lavern Lee Renninger (62, Zephyrhills) to 10 years in federal prison for attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity. Renninger was also ordered to serve a 20-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender. 

Renninger had pleaded guilty on July 19, 2021.

According to court documents, from March 3 through March 18, 2020, Renninger engaged in chats through an online classified advertising site and through text messaging with an individual he believed to be the mother of two children, ages 11 and 13. Unbeknownst to Renninger, the “mother” was an undercover law enforcement officer. During online conversation, Renninger provided the “mother” with graphic details of the sexual activity that he wanted to engage in with these children. Renninger said he had “90,000 visions of this” during a phone call with the “mother” of the children. During text conversations that he believed he was having directly with the children, Renninger detailed what he wanted to do to them sexually and stressed the importance of keeping their interactions secret. Renninger was arrested on March 18, 2021, when he traveled to meet the “mother” to engage in sexual activity with the children. 

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“Child predators prey on our most vulnerable, our children,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “HSI and our partners at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office are now making sure he is held accountable for those crimes.”

This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

This is another case 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.justice.gov/psc.  


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