A Vinita man was sentenced in federal court for attempting to sexually entice an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old boy, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced John William Thomas Flechs, 37, to ten years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.
“Thankfully, an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old caught John Flechs before he could reach his intended target- a teenage boy,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Flechs will spend 10 years in federal prison as a consequence of his crime.”
Starting on Jan. 15, 2021, Flechs unknowingly initiated a conversation with the undercover officer, believing he was a minor. In Kik messages, Flechs complimented the “teenager” and asked him to send photographs on three occasions. Flechs further described sexual encounters he had with male relatives, introduced graphic sexual topics that would allude to sexual acts on the boy, discussed the boy’s penis size, and asked if he had ever had anal sex. He then suggested they meet.
Still posing as the 14-year-old boy, the undercover agreed to meet Flechs at a skate park. Flechs was taken into custody when he arrived at the park.
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie A. Childress and Edward Snow are prosecuting the case.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identity and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.