By Sharry Dedman-Beard
Brian Michael Burton, 40, pleaded guilty before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge in Knoxville, to attempting to entice a minor via the Internet to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Sentencing was set for Feb. 25, 2016, in U.S. District Court.
Burton faces a minimum of 10 years up to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, supervised release of five years up to life following his prison term, and asset forfeiture. He will also be required to register with the state sex offender registry in any state in which he resides, works, or attends school.
The plea agreement, signed by Burton and on file with the U.S. District Court, explains that he corresponded via the Internet with an undercover law enforcement officer about having sex with a 12-year-old male. Burton also corresponded with the undercover officer who posed as the 12-year-old male and discussed the sexual acts in which Burton wanted to engage with the minor. Burton was arrested when he arrived at a hotel where the meeting with the minor male had been arranged to take place.
This investigation was conducted by the Knoxville Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Morris represented the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing 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.