Online sexual predator sentenced to 28 months in prison | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Sep. 29—JEFFERSON — An Ashtabula man will spend the next 28 months in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning and possessing criminal tools.

Last July, Gary M. Cowell, 50, thought he was meeting up with an underage girl he met on the internet with the intent of performing sexual acts on her, according to court records.

Instead, he met up with investigators from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Office of Investigative Services and troopers from OHP’S Ashtabula Post, who joined forces to target online child sexual predators and internet crimes against children.

Cowell was immediately arrested upon his arrival at the predetermined location.

According to Ashtabula County Common Pleas records, Cowell has been convicted of other crimes in the past, including solicitation, driving while under suspension, domestic violence, disorderly conduct and failure to appear.

This operation was done in collaboration with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office and the Northeast Ohio Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.

If you are a victim of exploitation or you know of a child being sexually exploited online, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 24-Hour CyberTipline at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), or call the Patrol at Ext, 677.

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