POCATELLO—Wayne Allen Ginnis, 29, of Seattle, Washington, and James Russell Ashley, 47, of Augusta, Georgia, entered guilty pleas today to a superseding information charging them with traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. In their plea agreements, both men admitted that they intended to have illicit sexual conduct with girls they knew were under the age of 18. The two also admitted to sending the girls bus tickets to travel from Idaho to Hollywood, California.
According to the plea agreements, in early May 2011, Ginnis purchased bus tickets at a Hollywood, California bus station for the girls, then ages 12 and 13, to travel to California. Ashley sent one of the girls a text with the ticket information, and on May 2, 2011, the girls boarded a bus for California. The girls were intercepted by police in St. George, Utah, and returned to their parents. Ashley and Ginnis admitted that they then traveled from Hollywood intending to go to Idaho to meet the girls and have sex with them. Ashley and Ginnis purchased bus tickets in Las Vegas for travel to Idaho on May 12, 2011. Ginnis was arrested in Las Vegas and did not complete his travel to Idaho. Ashley was arrested in Idaho. Both Ginnis and Ashley admitted they knew the ages of the girls and that they traveled in interstate commerce with the intent to have illicit sexual relations with them. The men first made contact with the two girls over the Internet, then proceeded to communicate with their victims by cell phone and texting.
Ashley and Ginnis face up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a minimum term of five years up to lifetime supervised release.
The men are scheduled to be sentenced on August 27, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
“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.”
The case was investigated by the Pocatello Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service.