Graduate student sentenced for recruiting children for sex


A New York man was sentenced Friday to 120 months in prison after pleading guilty in January to charges of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

Julio Perez-Torres, 26, of Rome, New York, was also ordered to serve 20 years of supervised release.

Perez-Torres, a master’s degree candidate at American University, admitted to posting an online advertisement in early February 2016 expressing interest in engaging in sex with children. An undercover Fairfax County police officer responded to the ad, claiming to be the father of a five- and seven-year-old, compelling Perez-Torres to discuss performing graphic sexual acts on the children.

Following weeks of communications with the undercover officer via emails, text messages and telephone calls containing sexually explicit content, Perez-Torres traveled across state lines on Feb. 18, 2016 to meet the undercover officer, intending to have sex with the children. Perez-Torres was arrested at the scene.

Perez-Torres launched a GoFundMe campaign in 2015 to raise money for his graduate program tuition. He can be seen in the video below, thanking contributors who ultimately donated $1,255 toward his $5,000 goal.

According to the Department of Justice, the Perez-Torres investigation associated with Project Safe Childhood, “a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse” initiated in May 2006 by the Justice Department.

Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, the project “marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.”



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