Engle receives 40-year sentence

Published 11:22 am Friday, July 16, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. – Shawn F. Engle, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Gates County was sentenced July 12 in Norfolk federal court to 40 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release on charges related to sexual exploitation of minors and witness tampering.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Engle was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar.

On March 5, 2010, after a four-day trial, Engle was found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor; three counts of enticing a second minor to engage in sexual activity; and nine counts of witness tampering.

According to court documents, during 2008, Engle sought to enter into sexual relationships with two minor girls who lived outside Virginia. At that time, Engle was 30 to 31 years of age, while the two minors were 13 and 17 years old, respectively. After meeting both girls online, Engle communicated with them via the Internet and telephone text messaging until he sought physical contact with them.

During April 2008, Engle traveled from Virginia to Pennsylvania on two separate occasions to meet the 17-year-old minor. On the second of these visits, Engle picked up the minor, provided her with alcohol, and encouraged and persuaded her to engage in sexual activity with him, which he videotaped. After spending the weekend with the minor, Engle returned to Virginia Beach with the video camera and the sex tape.

During August 2008, Engle turned his attentions to a 13 year old minor from South Carolina. At Engle’s prompting and after a family crisis, this minor decided to run away and requested that Engle pick her up. Engle did so and brought her to Virginia Beach. He then transported the minor to a relative’s home in Gates County where the minor was found by Gates County authorities on Sept. 16, 2008.

Five weeks later, on Oct. 24, 2008, Virginia Beach police arrested Engle on a kidnapping warrant out of South Carolina and seized a video camera later found to contain the videotape showing Engle with the 17-year-old minor. While detained in Virginia Beach, Engle learned of a federal investigation into his activities and called and wrote letters to one of the victims and various witnesses attempting to get them to lie about his involvement and activities with the two minors. In letters and a telephone call to the 13-year-old victim, Engle also wrote about past sexual activities in which he had engaged with the minor, and attempted to induce her to engage in such activities in the future, upon his release from incarceration.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Virginia Beach Police Department, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gates County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Krask and Katherine Martin prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.