SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Savannah man was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for attempting to traffic a child for sexual exploitation.
Steven Andrew Ross, 30, was sentenced to 120 months in prison after pleading guilty to Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Minor. Ross will be required to serve 10 years of supervised release after the completion of his prison sentence, Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia said.
Ross was charged in Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide Department of Justice operation conducted from April to May by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. During the operation, nearly 1,700 suspected online child sex offenders were arrested.
Evidence from the sentencing showed that Ross was communicating online with an undercover agent that he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. While repeatedly confirming the girl’s age, Ross expressed interest in paying the child to have sex with him, requested photos of the child engaging in sexual activities with others, and sought to produce child pornography with the child.
“Child predators continue to pollute the online atmosphere, creating a dangerous environment in what otherwise should be safe access to the information superhighway,” said Christine. “Our office and our dedicated law enforcement partners continue to be relentless in pursuit of those who would target innocent children for exploitation.”
Also charged in the Southern District of Georgia in Operation Broken Heart was 39-year-old Benjamin Ray of Honea Path, S.C. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.