U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Release
Texas Man Faces Federal Charges After Traveling to Engage in Sexual Conduct with a Minor He Met Online - 06/06/24

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Presidio, Texas man is facing federal charges today after he traveled to Oregon to engage in sexual conduct with a minor he met online.

Steven Worth Ellis, 60, has been charged by criminal complaint with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempting to sexually exploit a child, and coercing and enticing a minor.

According to court documents, in late May 2024, the Oregon Department of Human Services received a tip alleging that Ellis was engaged in an online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old child. It was reported that Ellis had met the child on Reddit, a popular online forum, and engaged in frequent, sexually explicit communication with the child for at least a month. It was further alleged that Ellis told the child he wanted to marry her and made plans to travel from his home in Texas to Oregon to “come get her.”

Further investigation revealed that Ellis did intend to travel to Oregon to meet the child and had an active vacation rental reservation for a residence located near the child’s home. Investigators began tracking Ellis’s movements and soon observed him leaving Texas and traveling in a northwest direction toward Oregon.

Investigators intercepted and arrested Ellis today in The Dalles, Oregon, and he made his initial appearance in federal court in Portland before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Portland Police Bureau. It is being prosecuted by Mira Chernick, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to contact HSI at (866) 347-2423 or submit a tip online at report.cybertip.org.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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