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JCSO Assists in Federal Case Where Man is Arrested for Traveling to Florida to Engage in Sexual Activity with a Minor

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Posted by: Staff
Date: Jul 27 2022 4:40 PM

JACKSON COUNTY, FL - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) was part of several agencies who played a role in successfully convicting Jason Earl Kirkland, 44, of Cottonwood, AL, for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and for traveling into Florida to conduct sexual activity with a minor.

In May of 2021, we joined the Panama City Beach Police Department, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security in an undercover online investigation to identify individuals seeking to engage in sexual activity with minors.

During the course of the investigation, it was learned that Kirkland utilized a username of "Mark from Cottonwood" and claimed to be 41 years old, and sent a private message to an undercover profile, claiming to be a 14-year-old girl located in Marianna, FL, using a social media and messaging application. Kirkland exchanged several messages with the undercover officer, which led to communicating by voice and through text messaging.

Sheriff Edenfield reminds guardians to monitor their children’s internet and phone usage, and to also explain the dangers of using these applications or the internet.

“I want everyone to not take this lightly and to remember there are people who seek to take advantage of our youth and we must do everything we can to keep them from doing so,” he said.

The conversation with Kirkland, and what he believed to be a minor evolved into discussing sexual activity before he sent a nude photograph of himself through text message. Kirkland traveled across state lines to Marianna, where he believed he would meet the minor and drive her back to his residence in AL to engage in sexual activity. Kirkland was taken into custody immediately upon arrival at the meeting location.

Kirkland is scheduled for sentencing on October 7, 2022, at 1:30 p.m., at the United States Courthouse in Tallahasse, FL. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison, for the attempted enticement charge, and will face a maximum of 30 years in prison for the charge of interstate travel to have sex with a minor.

Sheriff Edenfield says that protecting our youth from harm and evil is a top priority of the JCSO and we will continue to see that harm does not come their way.

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