FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – Six more men from Missouri and Illinois are facing federal charges for
attempting to engage in sexual activity with minors.
Eric E. Hamilton, II, 22, of Maryland Heights, Missouri, is charged with attempted enticement of a
minor and traveling across state lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Godfrey C. Hubbard, 52, of Sorento, Illinois, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor.
Justin Schneider, 33, of Edwardsville, Illinois, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor.
Christopher M. Simmons, 30, of St. Louis, Missouri, is charged with attempted
commercial sex trafficking of a child, attempted enticement of a minor, and traveling across state
lines with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Michael James Smith, 39, of Barnhart, Missouri, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor.
James Tiroch, 37, of Florissant, Missouri, is charged with attempted enticement of a minor.
The cases are the result of an FBI-led operation involving multiple federal and state law
enforcement agencies aimed at rooting out internet users attempting to meet children for sex. All
six men have been charged by federal complaint. The crimes allegedly occurred in the Southern
District of Illinois.
U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft and FBI-Springfield Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox made the
“Children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation across the internet,” said U.S. Attorney Weinhoeft.
“That’s why we are continually updating our investigative techniques and casting a wide net over a
variety of online applications and other internet platforms where children are at risk. To anyone
who would prey on our kids, know this: law enforcement is watching, and you will be caught.”
“The FBI works tirelessly in collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement
partners to shut down child predators in hopes of preventing what could be a lifetime of trauma for
victims,” said SAC Cox. “Children tend to be trusting online and will befriend strangers of any age
or gender. Offenders take advantage of this naivety and target children who openly engage others
online or who have a strong social networking presence. Parents and guardians are the
first line of defense in preventing access to their children. Talk to your children, know what
they’re doing online, and if you
suspect suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to report it to the FBI.”
All six defendants are accused of using the internet to entice someone under 17 years old to engage
in unlawful sexual activity and traveling to a specific location to engage in sexual acts with a
minor. Some of the defendants allegedly traveled across state lines and/or offered to pay for sex,
leading to additional charges. Several of them allegedly had items with them when they were
arrested, including alcohol, sex toys, condoms, and candy. No actual minors were harmed during the
If convicted, the defendants each face at least 10 years in prison and could receive as much as
life behind bars. Traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor is punishable by up to 30
years in prison. All of the offenses also carry a possible lifetime term of supervised release and
fines of up to
Pending trial, all six defendants will be held without bond or released on electronic monitoring
and other strict conditions, as required by federal law for these offenses.
A complaint is merely a charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be
innocent of the charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
These cases fall under the umbrella of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in
2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and
abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation
and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to
locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to
identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit
www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit
www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
The investigation was led by FBI-Springfield, with assistance from FBI-St. Louis, U.S. Air Force
Office of Special Investigations, the Collinsville Police Department, the Edwardsville
Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the Southern Illinois
University-Edwardsville Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, the Madison
County States Attorney’s Office, the Alton Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s
Office, the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the
Carlyle Police Department.
The cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Karelia Rajagopal and Ali Burns.
[An earlier version of this press release inadvertently omitted the Macoupin County Sheriff’s
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of Illinois