KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On April 19, 2021, a federal jury convicted Kent Lowery Booher, 64, of Harriman, Tennessee, a registered sex offender, of multiple sex crimes involving minors. Booher, a disbarred criminal defense attorney, was found guilty of enticing and attempting the enticement of a minor for sex, committing a sex crime with a minor while being a registered sex offender, sex trafficking of a child, and attempted production of child pornography. As a result of the convictions, the defendant faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Sentencing is scheduled for August 18, 2021, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, United States District Judge.
The investigation began when an undercover investigation revealed that Booher, a convicted sex offender, began communicating on Facebook with an individual he believed to be a 14- year-old girl. Over a period of five days, Booher used Facebook, text messaging, and telephone calls to attempt to entice the individual to engage in sexual activity. On March 8, 2019, Booher was arrested by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Harriman Police Department while on the way to meet with a minor child.
Based upon the undercover investigation, a federal grand jury initially indicted Booher on federal charges of attempted enticement of a minor for sex and committing the enticement offense while required to register as a sex offender. Two months later, following additional investigation, the grand jury added three charges pertaining to Booher’s sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old child in 2012 and 2013.
The lead agency in this investigation was the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The Knoxville Police Department, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, Lenoir City Police Department, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Harriman Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Department of Corrections, and U.S. Secret Service, assisted with the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Kolman and Frank M. Dale, Jr. represented the United States at trial.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.