Federal prosecutors say two Texas men will remain in custody for their alleged roles in the sex trafficking of a 13-year-old girl who, purportedly, was victimized by up to four different adult males.
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas announced they charged East Texas resident Shenandoah West Moneypenny and Dallasite Shawn Dale Sanders each with one count of conspiracy to use, persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing a visual depiction of such conduct. Law enforcement agents arrested Moneypenny, 34, and Sanders, 43, on December 18.
In October, a family member of the 13-year-old female discovered online conversations between the girl and the adult males in question on her laptop computer. The relative contacted a school resource officer (SRO) with the Garland Independent School District where the youth attended middle school. The family then met with this SRO, bringing the minor’s laptop and cellular phone. In viewing the content, the officer confirmed the presence of sexually explicit communications on the devices.
During an interview with investigators, the alleged victim disclosed she had sexual contact with up to four men she met online, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. When detectives asked how she got mixed up with these individuals, the teen stated she met a man online named “Aiden” and he hooked her up with other adult males to “meet up” in person.
“Aiden,” who authorities later identified as Moneypenny, placed advertisements over Craigslist to attract men who wanted to meet with the victim for the purpose of having sex, according to the arrest affidavit. The responses from men to the Craigslist ads went directly to Moneypenny’s email account. Once he determined a potential john was safe for the victim to meet, Moneypenny turned the man’s contact information over to the girl.
In August, the 13-year-old met Sanders in response to one of Moneypenny’s Craigslist ads. Sanders allegedly picked her up from middle school on that day and drove her to a local park where they engaged in sex acts. Sanders also photographed sexually explicit images of the girl and sent them to Moneypenny as a trade-off for setting him up with the victim. Sanders and the girl met approximately four more times and engaged in sexual activity. Moneypenny received 219 responses to his Craigslist ads, including Sanders’ reply, according to prosecutors.
Moneypenny and Sanders, respectively, face up to 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release, if found guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office did not indicate if they set a trial date.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Garland Police Department continue to conduct this ongoing investigation. The case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
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