Area Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Sex Trafficking of Children
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 03, 2009|
ST. LOUIS, MO—The third man caught up in an undercover sting has pleaded guilty to charges of attempted sex trafficking of children, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today.
David P. Hawkey, 24, Florissant, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of using interstate facilities to commit the crime of attempting to obtain a minor for the purposes of committing a commercial sex act before United States District Judge Charles A. Shaw. He now faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $500,000, when he is sentenced on March 11, 2010.
According to court documents, on July 27, 2009, law enforcement officers and agents were involved in an undercover operation investigating subjects who attempt to purchase children, or their services, for commercial sex in the Eastern District of Missouri. The same day, officers received an e-mail in response to an Internet advertisement that had been placed by law enforcement working in the undercover capacity. The advertisement indicated that young females of an indeterminate age were available. The e-mail was from David Hawkey inquiring about the age and price for the girls. The undercover officer informed Hawkey that he had a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl and each was $80 for a half-hour and $160 for an hour, or $300 for both. Hawkey replied that he wanted the “younger one,” and requested nude pictures of the girl. Hawkey further indicated that he wanted full service, which is a term that is used to denote sexual intercourse. Hawkey was given a telephone number to make further arrangements. The undercover agent and Hawkey arranged to meet at a location in St. Louis County. Hawkey paid the undercover agent in cash and was arrested by the FBI, St. Louis County Police, and Maryland Heights Police.
"Fortunately there wasn't a real child in this case whom Mr. Hawkey could have victimized," said Mike Kaste, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. "The FBI and its partners are proactively catching child predators before they traumatically harm a child."
There were two other men charged as a result of this undercover operation:
Matthew S. Nichol, 44, St. Charles County, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of using interstate facilities to commit the crime of attempting to obtain a minor for the purposes of committing a commercial sex act, in September and is scheduled for sentencing December 11, 2009.
James Grady, 58, St. Louis, was indicted November 5, 2009, by a federal grand jury on one felony count of attempted sex trafficking of children, one felony count of coercion and enticement and one felony count of possession of child pornography. Additionally, Grady is charged with a forfeiture count, which, if convicted, will require the forfeiture of property that was used to facilitate the criminal activity. He is scheduled for trial March 1, 2010.
If convicted, each count of sex trafficking and coercion/enticement carries a penalty range of 10 years to life in prison and/or fines up to $500,000. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or a fine up to $250,000.
Reap commended the work on the case by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Maryland Heights and St. Louis County Police Departments; and Assistant United States Attorney Howard J. Marcus, who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and defendant Grady is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.