BOSTON >> A registered sex offender from Williamstown has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield in connection with persuading a 16-year-old boy to travel to New York to engage in sexual activity.
Ronald S. Brown, 52, who already has served time on a prior conviction for a sexual assault of a 14 year-old, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 1 on the new charges.
Brown admitted engaging in thousands of online interactions with a 16-year-old boy from Dec. 27, 2012, to Jan. 19, 2013, to persuade him to run away from his Midwestern home to engage in sexual activity with Brown.
On Jan. 7, 2013, Brown sent the boy a one-way ticket to fly to Newark International Airport in New Jersey, and on Jan. 19, 2013, Brown picked the boy up at the Newark airport, and then transported him to New York to engage in sex. On three separate dates thereafter, Brown further sexually exploited the teenager by producing one digital file and two live video transmissions of the minor either masturbating or urinating.
The boy was recovered in New York after his mother alerted police that her son was missing and believed to be meeting up with Brown. During an interview on Jan. 20, 2013, Brown falsely told a federal agent that he believed the child to be 18.
Brown pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni on Monday to one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.
The charge of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor provides a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than 30 years in prison, a minimum mandatory term of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
The charge of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum mandatory term of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
In 1995, Brown was convicted and sentenced for sexually assaulting and providing alcohol to a 12-year-old boy at a campground in North Canaan, Conn.
He was sentenced to serve five years in jail and five years of probation in that case.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case was investigated with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police, the Williamstown Police Department and the New York State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse.
Led by the U.S. attorneys' offices and the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.