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Published on February 23, 2024
Effingham Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Minor in FBI Sting OperationSource: Administrative Office of the United States Courts, District of Illinois

An Effingham man has been slapped with a 10-year federal prison term for his admitted role in attempting to engage in sex crimes against a minor, prosecutors announced. John S. Harmon, 65, was taken down following an FBI sting operation, where he fell for an agent posing as a teen in an online forum, ultimately pleading guilty to charges of attempted commercial sex trafficking of a minor and solicitation of child pornography.

Harmon was busted trying to quickly arrange an illicit exchange with what he thought was a 15-year-old and an even younger child. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the predator offered cash for sex and lurid photos during chats from May to June 2021. "Thanks to the FBI’s proactive efforts in an undercover online investigation, another child predator was sentenced to spend a decade behind bars," U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe said in a statement. The commitment to hunt down these egregious offenders, she vowed, would remain unwavering.

Agents from the FBI Springfield Field Office carried out the sting that snared Harmon, underlining the bureau's ongoing initiative to safeguard children from sexual predators. “Our proactive efforts to protect children resulted in another offender being stripped of his ability to harm a member of our most vulnerable population,” Special Agent in Charge David Nanz pointed out. This sentence, according to Nanz, proves the FBI's relentless determination to clamp down on those who seek to victimize the innocent.

Case prosecutors Casey Bloodworth and David Sanders presented evidence accumulated through meticulous work by FBI operatives, setting the stage for Harmon's lengthy sentence. Together with local and federal authorities, the FBI continues to aggressively pursue those who brazenly try to betray the trust of society's young ones. This case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a concerted effort launched in 2006 dedicated to combating the sweeping epidemic of child exploitation and abuse across the nation.