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United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida

10/25/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/25/2021 11:47

Jacksonville Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Federal Prison For Using The Internet To Attempt To Entice And Meet A 12-Year-Old Child For Sex

Jacksonville, Florida - United States District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Wayne Dale Epps, Jr. (36, Jacksonville) to 12 years in federal prison for using the internet to attempt to entice a 12-year-old child to engage in sexual activity. Epps was also ordered to serve a life term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.

Epps had pleaded guilty on June 10, 2021.

According to court documents, on February 14, 2020, an undercover FBI agent who was posing online as the family member of a 12-year-old child was contacted by Epps using the screen name "ksaber2040." Over the next several days, Epps and the undercover agent engaged in online conversation in which Epps expressed his desire to meet the "child." Epps confirmed that he wanted to meet the "child" for sexual activity, stating "[t]his is a first for me I'm nervous but I've been wanting to try younger." Epps provided the undercover agent with graphic details about how he intended to sexually abuse the "child." He offered to use a "flavored condom" and requested pictures of the "child."

On February 18, 2020, Epps drove to a prearranged location at a shopping center in Jacksonville to meet the "child" for sex and was arrested by FBI agents. During an interview, Epps stated that it was "possible that [he] would have followed through" and engaged in sex with the 12-year-old child, and further that he "should have never made that decision."

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.