BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – After two full days of trial, a federal jury convicted a Raleigh County man of attempting to solicit sexual activity from a minor.

The trial revealed that Kenneth Owens, 58, of Surveyor solicited a 15-year-old girl for sexually explicit photos of herself from April 1, 2020 through Jan. 12, 2021. Owens gave her cigarettes, vapes and alcohol in exchange for the sexual content. Owens initially messaged her exclusively through Facebook, and then through cellphone messages.

Owens will be sentenced on July 18, 2022, in Bluefield and faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

“Bringing this case to trial and securing a guilty verdict underscores the commitment by this office and its many law enforcement partners to bring predators of children to justice. I commend the West Virginia State Police, the Beckley Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations for their work in the case. I congratulate Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin Scott and Steve Loew along with the rest of our trial team for this successful prosecution.”

U.S. Attorney Will Thompson

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.