Casper Man Charged With Soliciting Teen Girls for Sex
A Casper man faces one federal count of attempting to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Adam Paul Custeau, who was born in 1989, heard the charge from U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich during his initial appearance by videoconference in federal court in Casper on Tuesday.
If convicted, Shickich said Custeau could face a penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, five years to life supervised probation after his release from custody and a $100 special assessment.
He was represented by attorney Steven Iberlin of Casper
Custeau will have a formal detention hearing probably on Friday, Shickich said, who added that people charged with this kind of crime are rarely released on bond.
The government filed a motion asking the court to detain Custeau to guarantee future court appearances, community safety and probable cause to believe he committed the crime of child exploitation.
He has yet to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
However, a criminal complaint filed in federal court on Friday outlined the case last week.
From Wednesday through Friday, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force "focused on the identification and arrest of individuals attempting to have sexual contact with minors in exchange for something of value," according to the complaint written by a DCI agent.
"Adam Custeau was one of the individuals arrested pursuant to this operation," the complaint said. Court records do not indicate if anyone else has been arrested.
On Wednesday, a Homeland Security Investigations agent began chatting with a person identified as Custeau, who had responded to an ad on an unnamed website. The HSI agent, acting as the facilitator for the encounter, told him they would be in Casper with two "real and legit females," according to the complaint.
During that conversation, Custeau said he wanted a "Qv" -- "quick visit" -- with the girls, who the HSI agent said were 12 and 14.
Custeau was hesitant about the ages, but the HSI agent responded "'its ok babe not for everyone.'"
He wanted to see pictures of the girls.
The HSI agent sent him images of undercover agents who were clothed and age-regressed to look like young teenage girls.
The HSI agent told him that he could not meet the girls in advance at the hotel, but that she would come down to meet him.
"Custeau stated, 'Okay wel how we gonna do feels kinda sketchy to me' and then later followed up with, 'Sorry I really wanna tho,'" according to the complaint.
Custeau said he would pay $50 for a quick visit plus another $50 because he didn't have condoms, that he was ready and agreed to meet at a hotel, according to the complaint. "Within twenty minutes, Custeau texted he was there."
Meanwhile during that conversation, DCI agents were surveilling Custeau and saw him go to a convenience store near the hotel, drove to the hotel and parked.
Custeau was in the parking lot, texting the HSI agent for 14 minutes ending the conversation with "'have a good night,'" and drove away after 9 more minutes.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol then stopped him and took him without incident to the Casper office of the DCI.
There, two DCI agents advised him of his rights, removed his handcuffs, and took him to an interview room.
Before being advised of his rights, asked if he was in custody because of the text message conversation he had about "'those girls.'"
During the interview, Custeau confirmed his phone number he used in texting the HSI agent, and confirmed he responded to the online advertisement.
He also admitted he traveled to a nearby gas station and withdrew $100 from an ATM, but wouldn't have sex with the girls if they looked underage.
"Custeau claimed he planned to notify law enforcement if he was able to meet with the girls and saw they were indeed underage," according to the complaint.
After the interview, law enforcement officers took him to the Natrona County Detention Center without incident.