Kenneth White was sentenced to 151 months (12 years, seven months) in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and special assessments totaling $5,100 Thursday after a federal jury found him guilty of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
A judge also ordered White to be on supervised release for eight years after serving his prison term.
The jury handed down its verdict on May 6 in the Southern District of Illinois federal court.
White, 42, was the owner of Gold Rush Cafe downtown, a business he had owned since 2011, and Ken’s Place on Wayne Sullivan Drive.
Gold Rush Manager Pam Johnson posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page in July 2020 that White had removed himself from the restaurant’s operations.
White was arrested on June 9, 2020, and was alleged to have communicated with an undercover officer claiming to have a 10-year-old daughter to be included in sexual activity.
In late April 2020, according to the complaint, FBI Special Agent Brian Wainscott posted an advertisement referencing incest on an unspecified “online service.”
The transcript shows someone identified as White telling Wainscott he is “wide open on desires. Sisters, siblings. Mom and daughter or son. Father and daughter or son Heck even role playing might work lol (sic).”
Wainscott responds that he has an “active 10 yo,” at which point White expresses skepticism that “this sounds like a set up.”
He then mentions it “could be hot” if “you and I are messing around and they just popped in.”
The transcripts indicate White and Wainscott exchanged explicit photos. Those sent by the undercover law enforcement officer were fake.
White routinely expresses skepticism about the officer, but the transcripts show that once he’s satisfied the officer isn’t law enforcement, he continues to harbor doubts that the man might be out to trap or blackmail him.
At various times, the transcripts show, either White or Wainscott would restart the conversation as it lagged, and eventually the two set up a meeting time in Metropolis, Illinois, on Kennedy Road.
Messages indicate White was walking toward the meeting place, then decided to walk back and get his car in case things went badly and he “had to run.”
At that point, according to the complaint, agents approached White and he consented to be interviewed.
The complaint indicated White told agents “the thought of the 10-year old daughter sexually excited him” and he admitted to sending the messages to Wainscott.
White also consented to a search of his cellphone, Wainscott said.
Describing the section of the U.S. Code which prohibits anyone from knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing or coercing a minor, or attempting to do so, Wainscott said the Seventh Circuit ruled that language covers “communication between two adults where one of the adults is purporting to be the parent or guardian of the minor child.”
The Sun archives were used for this story.