ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Jonathan Cody Alexander, 31, of Asheville, was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for enticement of a minor, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. also ordered Alexander to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
According to court documents and today’s court proceedings, from March 24 to April 10, 2017, Alexander engaged in multiple communications with a Homeland Security Investigations special agent posing as a 14-year-old female. During the exchanges, Alexander discussed his interest in engaging in sexual contact with the “minor,” and repeatedly requested suggestive pictures of the minor. Court records show that after the minor told Alexander she would not be able to send pictures, Alexander began urging her to meet him at a motel, to engage in sexual activities with him. When the minor seemed reluctant, Alexander promised money if she agreed to engage in sex with him and another woman. On April 6, 2017, Alexander made arrangements to meet the minor at a restaurant in Hendersonville. On April 10, 2017, law enforcement arrested Alexander when he arrived to meet the minor at the agreed-upon location for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities. Alexander pleaded guilty in May 2019 to one count of enticement of a minor.
* * *
In a separate case, Judge Cogburn sentenced Christopher Patrick Tanfield, 46, of Asheville, to 72 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for receiving child pornography. Court records in this case show that on Oct. 8, 2016, Tanfield used a peer-to-peer network to access and download child pornography. A forensic analysis of Tanfield’s electronic devices revealed that he possessed more than 3,182 images and videos of prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. On March 26, 2019, Tanfield pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography.
Both Alexander and Tanfield are currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
Alexander’s case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Hendersonville and the Hendersonville Police Department. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations led the investigation into Tanfield.
Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA) Alexis Solheim prosecuted both cases. Ms. Solheim is a state prosecutor with the office of the 30th Prosecutorial District, and was assigned by District Attorney Ashley Welch to serve as a SAUSA with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville. Ms. Solheim is duly sworn in both state and federal courts. The SAUSA position is a reflection of the partnership between the office of the 30th Prosecutorial District and the United States Attorney’s Office. The SAUSA position helps ensure the effective and vigorous prosecution of federal court cases that impact the counties within the 30th Prosecutorial District.
Both cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.