POCATELLO – Two men admitted they tried to lure two young girls from Idaho to Hollywood, Calif., with the intent to have illicit sexual conduct with them.
U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson said Wayne Allen Ginnis, 29, of Seattle, Wash., and James Russell Ashley, 47, of Augusta, Georgia, entered guilty pleas in federal court Tuesday.
“Today's guilty plea brings justice to two men who sought to exploit young Idaho girls,” said Olson. “State and federal law enforcement acted quickly and decisively to prevent an even more horrific act of sexual exploitation of children. I applaud their efforts. I also caution parents to be aware of sexual predators seeking to entice and endanger children over the Internet. Responsible adults must ensure that Internet communications are not used to lure children into becoming victims.”
In their plea agreements entered last month, the two men also admitted sending the girls, ages 12 and 13, bus tickets. On May 2, 2011, the girls boarded a bus for California. They were intercepted by police in St. George, Utah, and returned to their parents.
Ashley and Ginnis admitted they then intended to travel from Hollywood to Idaho to meet the girls and have sex with them. Ginnis was arrested in Las Vegas, while Ashley was arrested in Idaho. Both men admitted they knew the ages of the girls.
Authorities say the men first made contact with the two girls over the Internet, and communicated with their young victims by cell phone and texting.
Ashley and Ginnis face up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
They are scheduled to be sentenced on August 27, 2012 at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
The case was investigated by the Pocatello Police Department, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service.