Almost two years after he got caught in a police sting operation, a Pennsylvania man who virtually hooked up with what he thought was an underage teen after spotting what was a bogus social media profile, on Friday admitted traveling across state lines to New Jersey in order to engage in illicit sex acts with a minor.
Quentin Anthony Blount, 29, of Easton, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
An online chat investigation known as “Operation Spotlight” resulted in the arrest of 12 men who sought out sex with minors in the New Jersey area.
According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Blount began communicating with an undercover officer on an internet-based application in October 2020.
After an extensive conversation with the undercover officer, Blount agreed to pay money in order to have sex with the minor, who he believed was 14 years old.
Blount then traveled from Easton to Somerset County, New Jersey, in order to meet with the minor.
Blount was arrested upon arriving at the predetermined meeting location.
Blount was one of a dozen men nabbed in an undercover roundup of accused predators who investigators claim trolled social media for what would be the statutory rape of underage girls and boys.
In the joint operation among the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, federal authorities and local police departments, law enforcement officers, specially trained in internet undercover operations, posed as the underage children on the apps in the sting called “Operation Spotlight.”
Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, then-U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives John W. Fodor and Newark Division FBI Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch, Jr. announced the arrest of 12 alleged child predators in “Operation Spotlight” in October 2020.
“They just sit and wait,” Robertson said.
The charge of traveling to engage in illicit sexual activity carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2022.