A Rineyville man who previously pleaded guilty to attempted online seduction and disclosure of obscene material to a minor was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year prison sentence.
Melvin Dowell, 55, was also ordered to pay a special $ 5,000 fine under the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act and was fined $ 12,000.
He must also register as a sex offender. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
A Kentucky Criminal Investigation detective posed as a 15-year-old girl on August 14, 2019, according to a consent form. On the same day, an unidentified person who was later identified as Dowell by authorities reached out to the person.
The two communicated by email and finally by SMS. Dowell directed the conversations to a sexual nature, requesting “nude” pictures of the girl, requesting details of her sexual history, sending sexually explicit pictures of herself and, according to a press release, asking to meet the person to engage in sexual activity .
On August 30, 2019, police officers agreed to meet Dowell at a designated location in Elizabethtown. Dowell went on to communicate with the person he believed was an underage girl and provided information about his arrival time along the way, authorities said.
Around 6:38 p.m., Dowell said he had arrived at the location. At the same time, a red Ford Ranger pickup was pulling into the driveway of the house where the two of them had met. Dowell then got out of the truck and entered the residence where he was arrested.
A pat-down search revealed that Dowell had two latex-free condoms, as discussed during their communication.
After being briefed on his constitutional rights, Dowell admitted meeting someone online who claimed to be a minor. He went on to say that he had traveled to the location where he was arrested after talking to her about sexual acts.
He also admitted using the Internet to join the conversations on his cell phone.
A search of his phones under the authority of a warrant revealed communications between Dowell and the person.
“This case reminds us that predators will use whatever means necessary to exploit children, and it is important that parents and carers have conversations with their children about online safety,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in the press release.
The joint investigation was conducted by US Intelligence and the Kentucky Attorney General with the assistance of the Elizabethtown Police Department, the US Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.