Two men were sentenced in federal court after trying to lure two underage girls from Pocatello to Hollywood, Calif., last year.
Wayne Allen Ginnis, 29, of Seattle and James Russell Ashley, 47, of Augusta, Ga., were sentenced Monday in federal court in Pocatello for traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge sentenced Ginnis to 70 months in prison and Ashley to 54 months. Both will be required to serve 10 years of supervised release. They pleaded guilty to a single-count information on June 5, 2012.
According to the plea agreements, the men admitted that they intended to have illicit sexual conduct with two girls they knew were under the age of 18. They also admitted to sending the girls bus tickets to travel to Hollywood.
According to plea agreements, in early May 2011, Ginnis purchased bus tickets at a Hollywood bus station for the 12- and 13-year-old girls to travel to California. Ashley sent one of the girls a text with the ticket information, and, on May 2, 2011, the girls boarded a bus for California. The girls were intercepted by police in St. George, Utah, and returned to their parents.
Ashley and Ginnis admitted that they then traveled from Hollywood intending to go to Idaho to meet the girls and have sex with them. Ashley and Ginnis bought bus tickets in Las Vegas for travel to Idaho on May 12, 2011. Ginnis was arrested in Las Vegas and did not complete his travel to Idaho. Ashley was arrested in Idaho.
Ginnis and Ashley admitted they knew the ages of the girls and that they traveled in interstate commerce with the intent to have illicit sexual relations with them. The men first made contact with the girls over the Internet, then communicated by cell phone and texting.
“These men will now spend many years in federal prison as punishment for their sexual exploitation of young girls,” said Olson in a news release. “State and federal law enforcement acted quickly and decisively to prevent an even more horrific act of sexual exploitation of children. I applaud their efforts. I also caution parents to be aware of sexual predators seeking to entice and endanger children over the Internet. Responsible adults must ensure that Internet communications are not used to lure children into becoming victims.”
The younger girl's mother wanted to thank Local News 8 for posting the picture and information that helped lead to the men's arrest, and Pocatello Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service for their efforts in getting the girls back. After hundreds of hours of counseling, the younger girl is recovering well.