Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor was sentenced on March 12, 2021, by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court Judge.
Jonathan Andrew Whitney, age 34, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Whitney will also be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
The conviction stemmed from an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2019 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting internet predators. Whitney, a previously convicted sex offender, was arrested and federally indicted following multiple chats he exchanged with a person Whitney believed to be a 15-year-old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent. Whitney sent sexually explicit messages to the 15-year-old undercover persona and negotiated the time and place he would meet the minor to engage in unlawful sex acts. When Whitney went to the pre-determined location to meet the minor, he was instead met by law enforcement agents and placed under arrest.
The investigation was conducted by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins prosecuted the case.
Whitney was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.