Jeffrey Leigh Thurber, 50, of Reno, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison and lifetime supervised release for his conviction for using a computer to induce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, announced Steven W. Myhre, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. He was found guilty by a jury in May.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, from about December 30, 2003, to January 6, 2004, Jeffrey Leigh Thurber entered a Yahoo chat room and had a series of chats with an undercover police officer pretending to be a 14-year-old girl.
During the chats, Thurber engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the girl and arranged to meet her in Reno.
When he arrived at the meeting location, he was arrested by law enforcement officers.
An FBI Agent testified at trial that the chat room used by the defendant was known to be used by sexual predators seeking minors.
The case was originally charged by the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office, but the charges were dismissed as a result of a finding by the District Court that the Nevada statute as written required that an actual minor be involved to constitute a criminal case.
Defendant Thurber is released on bond and must self-report to federal prison by November 30, 2007.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.
Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
This case was investigated by a joint cybercrimes task force consisting of federal and local law enforcement officers, and rosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald C. Rachow.