A 56-year-old man is facing multiple charges after using Facebook to message teens and offer them money for sexual favors.
A federal grand jury indicted Leon R. Harrison and charged him with sex trafficking of a minor, enticement of minor to engage in prostitution, and interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Timeline of events according to the indictment:
- Between August 9, 2016, and February 7, 2018, Harrison used his Facebook account to message hundreds of other users. He was offering them money in exchange for sending him sexual pictures, watching him masturbate, or meeting with him in person to have sex. Several people told Harrison that they were under 18-years-old, and as young as 12-years-old, but he continued to ask the users even after they said they were minors.
- Between October 9, 2017, and February 7, 2018, Harrison and 'Girl 1' exchanged hundreds of messages over Facebook. Girl 1 is a 15-year-old Maryland 10th grade student. In the messages, Harrison offered to pay her to have sex with him, sometimes offering between $40 to $60.
- On February 6, 2018, Girl 1's mother found the Facebook messages and contacted police. An undercover officer then took over Girl 1's Facebook account and pretended to be her.
- On February 7, 2018, Harrison was still messaging Girl 1 and set up to meet her that night, saying he would bring money and condoms. He said he would pay her $50 for sex and they arranged to meet at a restaurant in Odenton. Police arrested him with $50 in cash, condoms, and two 50ml bottles of flavored vodka in his pants pockets.
Harrison is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and for enticing a minor to engage in prostitution. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.