Youth Minister at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Levelland in Federal Custody for Attempted Enticement of a Minor
Defendant Also Worked at First Baptist Church in Lubbock
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 10, 2013|
LUBBOCK, TX—Trevor Jacob Fortner, 25, of Lubbock, Texas, made his first appearance in federal court in Lubbock, Texas, this morning, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy M. Koenig, following his arrest on a federal complaint charging attempted enticement of a minor. He was ordered detained, pending a detention hearing set for May 15, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Fortner is a youth minister at the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Levelland, Texas, and he also works at the First Baptist Church in Lubbock in its publications and graphics department.
According to the affidavit filed in the case, a detective with the Lubbock Police Department (LPD) working in an undercover capacity and posing as a 15-year-old female, “Katy,” encountered an individual via the Internet, later identified as Fortner, who purported to be a 26-year-old married male. Katy provided Fortner a telephone number and a new e-mail address, and Fortner began sending Katy text messages from his cellphone. On May 7, 2013, Fortner sent Katy an image of his facial profile as well as a sexually explicit image. Fortner sent sexually explicit text messages to Katy and asked Katy to send him a “dirty pic.” Fortner was arrested by the FBI and LPD on May 8, 2013.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The maximum statutory penalty for the offense as charged is Life in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative that was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “Resources.”
The matter is being investigated by the FBI, the LPD, and the LPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Cunningham is prosecuting.