Lawrenceville Man Charged with Attempting to Have Sex with 9-Year-Old Child
ATLANTA—Leonard Nathaniel Peragine, Jr., has been arraigned on federal charges of using the Internet to entice a child for sexual activity, and distributing and possessing child pornography. Peragine was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 27, 2015.
“Peragine is accused of shopping online for sex with children,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Such conduct is as dehumanizing as it is dangerous. Predators may feel safe in the anonymity of the Internet, but this case shows that we will find these predators and bring them to justice.”
“The FBI Violent Crimes Against Children program continues to target and present for prosecution individuals such as Mr. Peragine who, as alleged in the federal indictment, would sexually exploit our nation’s children. The FBI asks that anyone with information regarding child exploitation matters to contact their nearest FBI field office,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: The defendant, Leonard Nathaniel Peragine, Jr., responded to a classified advertisement that was posted online that purported to offer sexual access to a child. The ad was posted by an undercover agent as part of an FBI investigation. While communicating with the undercover agent to arrange to have sex with the child, said to be a nine-year-old girl, Peragine sent child pornography videos to the undercover agent that depicted adult men committing sex acts on prepubescent children. Peragine sent the videos via messenger application in order to have the agent show the videos to the child to persuade her to have sex with the defendant.
Peragine later spoke with who he thought was the child and asked the child whether she had seen the videos, and whether she wanted to try those activities with him. After the child said she might be interested, Peragine arranged to meet the undercover agent and the child on September 29, 2015, at a location in Suwanee, Georgia. When Peragine showed up for the meeting, he was arrested and searched. Condoms were found in his car, and additional child pornography was located on his cell phone.
Leonard Nathaniel Peragine, Jr., 32, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney John S. Ghose is prosecuting the case.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.