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Texas man sentenced to 14 years for exploiting eastern Ontario child he met in online video game

Child exploitation
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A 35-year-old man from Texas has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for luring a minor from the city of Quinte West, Ont.

The Quinte West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police began the child exploitation and luring investigation against the man in April of 2019. The victim, who was under the age of 14, met the man while playing a 'popular online game.'

A joint investigation by OPP, United States Homeland Security and the New Braunfels Police Department in Texas led to his arrest.

According to court documents, Jonathan Travis Flora, 35, held conversations that were often sexual in nature and exchanged nude photos and videos with the victim through gaming communication features and a phone messaging application.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas says Flora purchased a cell phone with a Canadian area code to continue communicating with the child under the guise that Flora was a classmate.

The victim's father received an unusually high phone bill and found the child had exchanged more than 2,000 phone messages in a two-day period. The victim then disclosed the interactions to OPP.

"Preying on children will not be tolerated," said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas in a news release.

"This case reminds us that sexual predators can be found lurking in a multitude of places, including online video games, but it also shows the dedication shared by federal, state and international law enforcement to protect children and aggressively pursue those predators who manipulate them and prey upon their innocence."

A San Antonio, Texas court sentenced the man to 14 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release.

Flora, from New Braunfels, Texas has an outstanding warrant by OPP for the following offences:

  • Possession of child pornography
  • Transmit sexually explicit material to a person under 14 years of age
  • Invitation to sexual touching under 16 years of age
  • Makes, prints, publishes or possess for the purpose of publication child pornography
  • Luring person under 14 years of age by means of telecommunication

OPP says it is committed to reducing the number of child predators and the threats they pose to children and communities.

More information and resources can be found at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

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