CHARLOTTE, N.C. – James Wesley Safrit, 33, of Newport, N.C. was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney to 120 months in prison for the online enticement of a minor, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Whitney also ordered Safrit to register as a sex offender and to serve 25 years under court supervision after he is released from prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer is joined in making today’s announcement by Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.
According to court documents and today’s court proceedings, between January 9 and January 21, 2020, Safrit used MeetMe, a social networking application, to engage in multiple communications with an FBI undercover employee posing as a minor. Court records show that, during these communications, Safrit discussed his interest in engaging in sexual contact with the minor and made arrangements to meet the minor. Law enforcement arrested Safrit in Matthews, N.C., when he arrived at the agreed-upon location to meet with the person Safrit thought was a 14-year-old boy, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities. Safrit pleaded guilty on June 19, 2020, to enticement of a minor using a means and facility of interstate commerce.
In imposing today’s sentence, Judge Whitney noted that “this type of criminal conduct is unacceptable and will be punished severely.”
Safit is currently in federal custody and he will be transferred to custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
The investigation was led by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Odulio, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the 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 the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina is committed to combating neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation of seniors.
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