FAYETTEVILLE — David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Scott Royal, age 38, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole followed by 15 years of supervised release on one count of Attempted Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks, United States District Judge, presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.

According to court records, in September of 2019, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Northwest Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the Arkansas State Police, and several local law enforcement agencies conducted a joint operation to target online sexual predators in Northwest Arkansas. As part of the operation, undercover law enforcement investigators placed multiple advertisements on various online websites and mobile applications representing themselves to be minors.

On Sept. 18, 2019, an individual who called himself Jim Bass (later identified as Royal) responded to a Craigslist advertisement and began emailing with an undercover law enforcement officer who was posing as a 14-year-old female.  Over the course of six days, Royal exchanged over 100 emails with the 14-year-old persona, in which he discussed performing various sexual activities with the purported minor. Royal also arranged a meeting with the purported 14 year old for a sexual encounter. The following day, Royal was arrested upon arriving at the predetermined meeting location.

Royal was indicted by a federal grand jury in October of 2019, and entered a guilty plea in February of 2020.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Arkansas State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Dustin Roberts prosecuted the case for the United States.

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