WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 71-year-old Kansas native who was residing in Panama pleaded guilty on April 6 to use of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
Jebediah Dishman, of Fredonia, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with use of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. of the Southern District of Texas. Sentencing is set for July 6.
Dishman was arrested in Houston on Nov. 8, 2016, on a criminal complaint. On Feb. 1, 2017, a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas indicted him on one count each of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in a foreign country, production of child pornography, sex trafficking of children, and obtaining custody and control of a minor for the purpose of producing sexually explicit visual depictions of the minor.
According to admissions made in conjunction with a plea agreement, in September 2014, Dishman began an approximately six-month trip to several countries in Southeast Asia. During his trip to Indonesia, another tourist observed Dishman engaging in suspicious interactions with minors, masturbating while watching minors, and using a tablet to take photographs of a three-year-old German child. The tourist confronted Dishman, seized his tablet, and turned it over to local authorities. U.S. authorities later reviewed the tablet pursuant to a search warrant and discovered sexually explicit images of minors, including of the German child, as well as Internet searches indicating an interest in the sex trafficking of minors in Southeast Asia.
The FBI is investigating this case with the cooperation of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Trial Attorneys James E. Burke IV and William M. Grady of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Zack of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson of the Central District of Illinois, previously on detail at CEOS, also served as a vital member of the prosecution team at earlier stages of the litigation.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.