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Cedar Rapids man caught in online sex abuse sting sentenced to 10 years in federal prison

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One of nine men caught in a November 2020 federal online sting targeting adults attempting to entice minors for sexual exploitation was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison.

During a hearing in U.S. District Court, Peoria, U.S. District Judge James Shadid sentenced Joseph Allen Wilcher, 40, of Cedar Rapids, to 120 months, or 10 years in prison. He is the sixth man to be sentenced in the case.

After a two-day trial in October, a federal jury found Wilcher guilty of one count each of attempted enticement of a minor and travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity.

Shadid sentenced Wilcher to 10 years in prison on each count, but the sentences will run at the same time. There is no parole in the federal system.

Wilcher also must serve 10 years on supervised release after he completes his prison sentence and register as a sex offender. He will receive credit for the time he has spent in custody awaiting trial.

Wilcher was arrested Nov. 13 after he drove to Rock Island to meet a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl. The conversations began Nov. 9 over a mobile dating app and then moved to text messages.

The status of the other eight cases are:

• Douglas L. Christensen, 57, of East Moline was sentenced Nov. 3, 2021, to 10 years in federal prison. He is currently being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

• Michael Robert McKinney, 24, of Silvis was sentenced July 20, 2021, to 12 years in federal prison. He is currently being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Marianna, Fla., according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

• Douglas Michael Speer, 31, of Johnston, Iowa, was sentenced Oct. 20, 2021, to 11 years in federal prison. He is currently being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Mich., according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

• Nicholas Bryan Swank, 32, of Muscatine was sentenced Jan. 6, 2022, to 17 ½ years in federal prison. He is currently being held in the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Ill., according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

• Charles Walter Christopher, 43, of West Liberty was sentenced Dec. 15, 2021, to 22 years in federal prison. He is currently being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin, Ill.

• Auston. M. McLain, 36, of Davenport is charged with attempted enticement of a minor, travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity and soliciting an obscene visual depiction of a minor. A jury trial is scheduled for March 21, in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, before U.S. District Chief Judge Sara Darrow.

• Jeffrey Alan Bosaw, of Bloomington, Ill., who was 52 at the time of his arrest, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor. A status conference is set for March 2 in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, before Darrow.

• Damien Pernell Shepherd, 36, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor. A jury trial is scheduled for June 21 in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, before Darrow.

Criminal complaint for Joseph Allen Wilcher
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