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Louisville Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Violating Federal Child Sexual Exploitation Laws

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date

Louisville, KY – A local man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for attempted sex trafficking of children and attempted online enticement.

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge Robert Holman of the United States Secret Service, and Jeffersontown Police Chief Richard W. Sanders made the announcement.

According to court documents, Steven B. Earnest, 35, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by a 30-year term of supervised release, for attempted sex trafficking of children and attempted enticement of a minor. There is no parole in the federal system.

Earnest used the internet to communicate with an individual to negotiate to pay to engage in sexual conduct with a 12-year-old child. Earnest then traveled to an agreed upon location, with money, to engage in the sexual conduct, where he was arrested.

“I commend the work of the Secret Service, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, and the Jeffersontown Police Department for their outstanding work during the investigation of this case,” U.S. Attorney Bennett stated. “The protection of our most vulnerable citizens is a top priority of this office. Along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners we will continue to identify, apprehend, and aggressively prosecute those who seek to sexually exploit our children.”

This case was the result of a joint federal, state, and local operation called Operation Angel, aimed at making federal arrests of individuals who preyed upon children. The United States Secret Service, the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, and the Jeffersontown Police Department investigated the case. 

Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless prosecuted the case.

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 the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”