Federal Jury Finds Raleigh County Man Guilty of Attempting to Entice a Minor to Produce Child Pornography

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – After two days of trial, a federal jury convicted Kenneth Owens, 58, of Surveyor, today of attempted enticement of a West Virginia minor to engage in sexual activity.

Evidence at trial established that Owens attempted to entice a 15-year-old female relative to send him sexually explicit photos of herself from April 1, 2020 through Jan. 12, 2021. Owens provided the minor with cigarettes, vapes and alcohol in exchange for the images. Owens initially communicated with the minor female relative through Facebook, and then by cell phone.

Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the jury trial. Owens is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18, 2022, in Bluefield and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

“Bringing this case to trial and securing a guilty verdict underscores the commitment by this office and its many law enforcement partners to bring predators of children to justice,” United States Attorney Will Thompson said. “I commend the West Virginia State Police, the Beckley Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations for their work in the case. I congratulate Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin Scott and Steve Loew along with the rest of our trial team for this successful prosecution.”

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s 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 those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-236.