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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Maryland Man Sentenced for Traveling to Florida for Sexual Activity With Child

Maryland Man Sentenced for Traveling to Florida for Sexual Activity With Child

Release Date: May 3, 2024

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Orlando investigation has a Maryland man being sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for using the internet and a cellphone while traveling to Florida to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

William Daniel Leonard, 55, of Maryland, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza, who also ordered Leonard to forfeit the cellphone he used to commit the offense. Leonard was found guilty after a two-day trial on Oct. 12, 2023.

According to evidence and testimony introduced in court, Leonard reached out to an undercover agent who was posing online as the father of a 13-year-old girl. Leonard expressed interest in meeting the “child” for sex and spent the next three weeks planning his trip from Maryland to Florida. During the same time he was making plans to come to Florida, Leonard was talking to two other minors online — a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl.

Leonard traveled to North Carolina on Nov. 19, 2021, to see the 14-year-old girl after deciphering her address from a digital photograph that she sent to him. On Dec. 7, 2021, Leonard arrived in Florida with two boxes of condoms to meet the notional 13-year-old girl, where he was met by law enforcement officers and arrested.

“This predator sought to betray the innocence of a child, and his sentencing serves as a stark reminder of the consequences for those who seek to exploit our most vulnerable,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Pezzutti. “Today's sentencing underscores HSI’s commitment to the relentless pursuit of those who threaten the safety and securing of our children.”

This case was investigated by HSI Orlando. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie McNeff and Amanda Daniels are prosecuting the case.

This case was 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 United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.

Last Updated: 05/03/2024
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