A man from West Virginia could face up to 30 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to sex tourism. Douglas Owen Law, 60, admitted to traveling overseas with the intention of seeking sexual contact with a child. 

According to the New York Post, Law flew to the Philippines in May 2019 to meet up with a 14-year-old girl he connected with through social media. He pleaded guilty to one count of “Sex Tourism” after having admitted that he had sex with the teen girl in a hotel room in the Philippines.

Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Michael D. Fleener testified that between 2014 and 2019, they were able to track at least 10 trips Law had taken to the Philippines. US Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Law was introduced to the girl online and had been extensively corresponding with her. He had sent her money in exchange for sexually explicit videos and photos of her.

In his plea hearing, Law told the court that he had truly believed the girl to be 16 years old, however, a witness refuted his claim. Fleener said Law’s Filipino “girlfriend” had introduced him to the 14-year-old girl and another male individual and booked a stay for the girl and Law at the hotel. 

Under federal law, sex tourism is considered a crime if committed with a victim under the age of 18. Law faces possible incarceration of 30 years and will be fined $250,000. 

US Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi has accepted Law’s plea and permitted him to remain free on electronically monitored home detention through a signature bond. However, a set of rules will be implemented. Law will be prohibited to access the internet except for use at his job and will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with a juvenile. The state has not moved for Law’s detention due to his cooperation, considering he also has not been involved in any other offenses since he became the subject of an investigation in March 2020.

Sex tourism is defined as a planned trip to a location specifically for the purpose of sex, generally in a country where sex work is considered legal. Under this premise, sex tourism supports human trafficking and slavery. Although prostitution may be legal in certain countries, sex with a minor and child pornography are both and always considered crimes. 

Girl in a subway Representation image. Pixabay.