(STL.News) – U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid yesterday ordered Daniel A. Betty, 28, of Decatur, Ill., to serve 22 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting and enticing a 14-year-old girl in September and October 2019. In imposing sentence, Judge Shadid described Betty as a predator who manipulated the minor victim.
Betty admitted that he posed as a teenaged boy in a social application known as ‘Spotafriend’ to target minors and meet for sexual activity and to send him sexually explicit images. ‘Spotafriend’ advertises itself as a “swiping app for teens ages 13-19,” that uses internet and cellular data to connect individuals.
Betty entered his formal pleas of guilty yesterday to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of enticement of a minor, and one count of receipt of child pornography as charged in the indictment returned by the grand jury in January 2020.
Betty has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest on Dec. 16, 2019.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly M. Peirson represented the government in the prosecution. The charges were investigated by the Champaign Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and the Decatur Police Department, in cooperation with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims.