A Tampa man is headed to federal prison for 10 years for attempted sex trafficking of a child, the U.S. Attorney's Office said today.
Steven D. Merryday, 25, was indicted on March 29.
According to court documents, Manning responded to an advertisement that had been posted on Backpage.com by Homeland Security Investigations and sent several text messages to an undercover law enforcement officer stating that he wanted to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.
After negotiating the price, Manning drove to the designated location, met with an undercover agent, and paid to have sex with the 14-year-old girl, the documents said.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.