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09-3654 U.S. v. Chambers

Child Enticement
Attempt; sufficiency of the evidence

The evidence is sufficient to support a conviction for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, even though the defendant’s actions consisted only of speech over the Internet.

“Here, there is significant evidence that Chambers was grooming Kendal. He used many common grooming methods during his communications with Kendal; he spoke to her in sexually explicit terms, e-mailed her adult and child pornography, discussed sexual activities with her and instructed her on how to arouse herself, told her that he had sexual intercourse for years with his ex-girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, and otherwise attempted to prepare her for a sexual encounter with him by discussing in graphic detail how the act would occur. In addition to grooming Kendal, Chambers took other preparatory actions to establish his intent and a substantial step toward the completion of the crime. Chambers and Kendal repeatedly discussed specific plans to meet, including several exact meeting points, and discussed in detail how Kendal would sneak out of her house. Chambers obtained her home address, examined maps of her neighborhood, and inquired about motels within walking distance of her home. He also invited Kendal to travel at his expense to meet him where he lived in Illinois because he was concerned about driving after a recent DUI conviction. He formulated a plan to meet Kendal on an Amtrak train in or near Kendal’s hometown in Ohio so that he could have sex with her on the train. Chambers further prepared for his encounter with Kendal by confirming that Kendal was taking birth control and by purchasing Viagra for his own use during the encounter. Furthermore, Chambers evidenced concern that Kendal was a police officer and repeatedly inquired about nude pictures of her. When Kendal responded that she had no means to send him pictures, Chambers obtained a web camera to mail to her. While the plans to meet never culminated in a meeting, it was more a substantial step than ‘a bunch of talk.’”

Affirmed.

09-3654 U.S. v. Chambers

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Scott, J., Bauer, J.

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