In Midland on Wednesday, 12/04/19, a federal judge sentenced 37-year-old Midland resident Cole S. Crocker to 20 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor into sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada, El Paso Division.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Cole pay a $50,000 fine, pay a $5,000 special assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), and be placed on supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term.
“The defendant in this case attempted to have sex with an eight-year-old girl—eight years old. I would say that parents can rest easy with this man in federal prison, but there are so many more predators like him. We remain committed to the fight against child abuse,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
On September 4, 2019, a jury convicted Crocker of one count of attempted online enticement of a minor. Evidence presented at trial revealed that on March 22, 2019, Crocker responded to an online advertisement uploaded by an FBI undercover agent. Crocker began chatting with the undercover agent via messaging applications, and the conversation quickly turned graphic and sexual in nature. The undercover agent represented to Crocker that he had access to an eight-year-old girl for sex, and Crocker expressed interest. As the chats progressed, Crocker also engaged in several recorded phone conversations with the undercover agent where they discussed the logistics of a meet-up to have sex with the eight-year-old girl. Crocker was arrested later that evening when he arrived at the purported meeting location in Midland.
This investigation and arrest were the result of a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane A. Chriesman is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.