CONCORD -- A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty in federal court to traveling to Nashua after arranging to have sex with a child, officials said.
Jean Fouad Yazbek, 63, of Norwood, Mass., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to traveling to New Hampshire with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, U.S. Attorney Scott Murray announced Tuesday.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in October, 2018, members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) launched an undercover investigation targeting online sexual offenders.
As part of the investigation, a detective created an undercover online persona of a 15-year-old girl living in Nashua. Several individuals began messaging the fictitious female on social media soon after the account was registered, including Yazbek.
Officials said beginning on October 2, 2018, and continuing through October 8, 2018, Yazbek engaged in sexually-charged conversations over social media with the UC. In these conversations, Yazbek expressed a desire to engage in various sex acts, including sexual intercourse, with the fictitious 15-year-old girl.
On October 8, 2018, officials say Yazbek drove from Massachusetts to Nashua, to meet who he believed was a 15-year-old female at a local hotel for sex. When Yazbek arrived, he encountered law enforcement officers instead and was arrested.
Yazbek admitted to police he had planned to meet a 15-year-old girl, whom he had met online and with whom he intended to engage in illicit sexual conduct, including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse.
According to Yazbek, he had checked into a local hotel prior to his arrest, and his hotel room contained a brand new phone, a teddy bear, undergarments, and a backpack containing shaving equipment, lubricant, and condoms.
According to police, Yazbek gave written consent to search his hotel room. There, officers found the items described by Yazbek during his interview.
Yazbek is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30.
“Protecting the children of New Hampshire from predators is a very high priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Murray. “Those who seek to prey on the innocent frequently use the internet as a tool to advance their criminal intentions. Working through Project Safe Childhood, we will remain vigilant in coordinating law enforcement efforts to arrest and prosecute offenders against children.”
“We’re glad that, through great federal, state and local law enforcement teamwork, this sexual predator has now been brought to justice.” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Boston. “This result could never have happened without the solid, critical teamwork of our dedicated partners on the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Nashua Police Department.”