Missouri Man Sentenced to 123 Months for Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. – A Bonne Terre, Mo., man, Michael Ray Landness, 35, was sentenced on Friday, to 123 months in federal prison, by Chief U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves, for attempted online enticement of a minor to engage in sexual conduct.

Landsness is a trucker who lives in Missouri, but routinely travels through Kentucky as part of his employment.  In his plea agreement, Landsness admitted to chatting with undercover law enforcement agents posing as a minor on two different occasions.  In May 2022, Landsness connected with an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a 14-year-old girl.  Landsness engaged in chats with the purported minor via the internet and text, during which he discussed engaging in various sexual acts with the minor. Although the Defendant talked about meeting the purported 14-year-old for sexual purposes, he failed to show up at the arranged meet and then stopped all communications with the purported minor.

On July 17, 2023, law enforcement located an ad placed by Landsness in which he was looking for young women to have sex with him in his truck during his travels as a truck driver.  Law enforcement responded, this time posing as a 15-year-old minor girl. Landsness again engaged in sexual chats with the purported minor.  During these chats, Landsness attempted to entice the purported minor to engage sexual activity with him.  The Defendant also scheduled a time to meet with the purported minor at a truck stop in Woodford County for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.  On July 27, 2023, law enforcement found Landsness at the planned meeting location and he was taken into custody.

Under federal law, Landsness must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence.  Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for life.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Rana Saoud, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Phillip J. Burnett, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police (KSP); and Chief Dustin Bowman, Frankfort Police Department, jointly announced the sentence.

The investigation was conducted by HSI, KSP, and Frankfort Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Roth is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 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 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.

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