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Akron man facing federal charges after Valley sting

32-year-old arraigned in child porn case

Jeremiah D. Torrence, 32, of Evelyn Lane in Akron was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Akron on charges of enticement, receipt of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child pornography.

The charges stem from a sting operated by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force.

Torrence pleaded not guilty before Magistrate Judge Amanda Knapp.

Torrence initially was charged in August in Mahoning County Area Court in Canfield with attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and single counts of importuning and possessing criminal tools following the sting operation.

He has been in the Mahoning County jail since Aug. 19. The task force indicated that Torrence is a mechanic.

The case was bound over to a Mahoning County grand jury, but the charges were dismissed Oct. 24 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court as a result of federal prosecutors taking over the case.

Torrence was named in a federal criminal complaint Oct. 21, and he appeared by video for his first hearing in federal court Oct. 24. He was federally indicted Nov. 17 on the three charges.

Torrence was one of 16 men charged in Mahoning County as a result of the task force operation, in which individuals answered an advertisement on internet sites and tried to arrange for sex with minors, according to Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.

According to an Oct. 21 affidavit connected to Torrence’s federal charges, an FBI investigator stated that between Aug. 19 and Aug. 21, the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force participated in a three-day operation, “which intended to attract individuals with a sexual interest in children.”

On Aug. 19, a person — later identified as Torrence — responded to a message posted by an undercover law enforcement officer” and “engaged in back and forth messaging on (a social media site) and later shared Facebook account information and continued back and forth messaging on Facebook,” the affidavit states.

The affidavit gives specific details of the conversations, in which the undercover officer indicates the purported child is a girl, 15. Torrence indicated his desire to have sex with her and sent a nude image of himself. The undercover officer / child and Torrence made arrangements to meet, and law enforcement arrested Torrence at the prearranged location, according to the affidavit.

Torrence’s federal charges allege he used a cellphone Aug. 19 in an effort to convince a juvenile to engage in illegal sexual activity. His federal charges also allege that on Aug. 19, Torrence received numerous computer files containing depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

And the charges allege that on Aug. 19, Torrence possessed a cellphone that contained child pornography. At least one image “involved a prepubescent minor or minor who had not attained 12 years of age,” according to his indictment.

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