United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
JOHN A. GIBNEY, Jr., District Judge.
The Court has held a bench trial in this case. After reviewing the evidence and law, the Court finds the defendant not guilty, for the reasons stated below.
The evidence in this case establishes the following facts:
Bryan Farley is a fifty three year old man, who lives with his mother in Nashville, Tennessee. He spends much of his time in a messy room in their home, where he plays on the computer and communicates with others over the Internet.
Farley has a sexual interest in young girls. The FBI seized his computer and found pornographic pictures that appeared to depict children. He also engaged in "chat" with people who identified themselves as minors. Because of the anonymity of typed Internet conversations, he usually did not know for certain with whom he actually conversed, or their gender or age, but he hoped they were female children. The bulk of his computer-based conversation with ostensible young girls concerned sex.
Several of Farley's Internet contacts testified at trial. These young women had actively joined Farley in far-ranging and theatrical sexual discussions, detailing such things as their desires to have rough sex with him, to engage in sado-masochistic acts, and to serve as his sex slave. Farley never came close to actually turning these far-fetched conversations into reality; none of the young women ever came anywhere close to meeting Farley. It is apparent that Farley and the women were engaged in role-playing, with no intent of ever meeting for any purpose.
Linsey Bosnich, an FBI agent based in Richmond, Virginia, went on the Internet posing as a thirteen year old child named "Sarah Baker." She attracted Farley's attention. Farley contacted her, hoping that she was really a thirteen year old girl. Farley professed both his desire to have sexual relations with her and deep affection for her. Farley attempted to verify her age and identity, and showed some doubt whether she was genuinely what she claimed to be. The attempts to determine her age and identity had two purposes: first, he was trying to make sure she was who she said she was. Second, they were part of a dialogue in which he tried to get photographs of her.
Although Farley and Bosnich talked about getting together at a hotel in Richmond, they never made any actual plans to meet. They had no travel or rendezvous plans. As far as the evidence shows, before his arrest, Farley had never been to Richmond. Farley never even figured out where she lived so that he could get a hotel room to take her to. The failure to meet is consistent with his conduct with the other young women, which never went beyond mutual make-believe.
Farley did, however, send Bosnich a web camera hoping that she would install it on her computer. He suggested that she should appear naked and masturbate in front of the camera.
The evidence does not show beyond a reasonable doubt that Farley actually planned to meet Bosnich or to engage in sexual conduct with her. Although Farley talks a good game, he lives in a fantasy world. Farley liked to talk to girls in sexual terms, but it was nothing more than role playing. Farley would play the adult lover, and the girls would portray young nymphomaniacs. Farley and the girls played at it, but did not act their fantasies out.
Farley's indictment charges him with enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual acts, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b). As relevant here, the statute makes it a crime to attempt to entice a minor to engage in any "sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense." Farley's indictment charges that the secondary crime - the one "for which any person can be charged" - is the Virginia crime of carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of thirteen and fifteen, a violation of Va. Code § 18.2-63(A). Under Virginia law, carnal knowledge involves various types of sexual ...