PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A West Virginia truck driver has been sentenced for attempting to traffic a girl from Morton, Illinois.
According to a United States Attorney’s Office press release, 53-year-old Michael Leonard was sentenced to 15 years for attempting to traffic a minor.
He will also be registered as a sex offender and have to pay $49,000 in restitution to victims of child pornography whose images were stored on his phone.
Presented evidence showed that Leonard had initiated a conversation on an advertising website in August 2020 with an individual he believed to be a mother offering sex with her 9-year-old daughter.
In August 2021, he initiated a text conversation agreeing to pay $50 for sex with the minor and planned to meet the mother and girl at an agreed location in Central Illinois.
FBI agents arrested Leonard upon his arrival. He admitted he was there to meet the girl and her mother. He also admitted that his phone contained images of child pornography. Agents found hundreds of photos and videos of child pornography on his phone.
Leonard was indicted in September 2021 and pleaded guilty in September 2022. He has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals since his arrest.
The FBI Springfield office investigated this case.