ATLANTA – Joshua Herrera, who tried to arrange a meeting online with an underage girl for sex, has been sentenced to federal prison for enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
“Online predators like Herrera mistakenly believe they can anonymously use social media and apps to sexually abuse young children,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “But the tireless efforts of federal, state and local investigators are making it possible to hold these perpetrators accountable. We strongly encourage parents to vigilantly monitor their children’s use of electronic devices and immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
“The severity of this sentence clearly reflects the threat Herrera poses to the community and is the greatest message the FBI can send to anyone who considers harming a child in this way,” said Keri Farley, in charge FBI Atlanta Special Agent. “This case demonstrates the lengths the FBI will go to to thwart child predators, and we are grateful for the hard work of our team who contacted Herrera before he could get his hands on an innocent child.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the indictment and other information presented in court: On November 19, 2019, Joshua Herrera communicated online with an undercover special agent and expressed interest in engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl, requesting photographs of the child, and arranging for the girl to do so hold true. On January 16, 2020, Herrera drove from Athens, Georgia to a prearranged location in the Atlanta area where he believed he would meet the child. FBI special agents arrested him upon his arrival.
Joshua Herrera, 29, of Kennesaw, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg to 19.5 years in prison followed by life of supervised release. He must also register as a sex offender. Herrera was convicted of the offense on March 30, 2023, following a four-day jury trial.
The FBI investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Gabay-Smith and Jesika W. French prosecuted the case.
This case is filed as part of the Safe Childhood Project. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. attorneys’ offices across the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to arrest and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.