Michigan man found guilty of sexually exploiting a minor in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Michigan man has been convicted of traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor in Arkansas as well as possession of child pornography.

Federal prosecutors said 33-year-old Jeremy Robert Ward, a registered sex offender from Michigan, was found guilty of several sex crimes involving a minor in Arkansas.

Former patients, including children, sue Benton rehabilitation facility claiming sexual assault

Ward was convicted of multiple charges, including one count of interstate travel with the purpose of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity with a minor, six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of travel with the purpose to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor.

According to federal prosecutors, Ward met the 12-year-old minor victim online in September 2022 when he added the victim to his Snapchat account. He exchanged messages with the victim for about three weeks before traveling to Arkansas from his home in Michigan to meet her.

On Oct. 15, 2022, he met the victim face-to-face in her neighborhood when he drove his car up to her while she was riding her bike near her neighborhood. During her encounter with Ward, the victim was able to record a part of the exchange.

Former Bryant High School teacher pleads guilty to having sex with student

Prosecutors said Ward can be heard stating, “I was hoping to take you home” and that the victim must “think I’m gonna kidnap you or something” to which the victim said, “You probably are about to at this point.”

Officials said Ward then asked if the victim knew of any “private spots” in an attempt to find a more secluded place.

Around the same time, the victim’s father noticed that she was outside the boundary of where she was allowed to be using an app on the child’s phone.

The parents then went to her location and found the victim on the ground with Ward, whose pants were around his ankles. Ward then ran into the woods. Federal prosecutors stated that the victim testified at trial that while she was in the field with Ward, he attempted to commit sexual acts with her.

Heber Springs woman arrested, accused sharing inappropriate photos of juvenile online

Investigators said they found that Ward and the victim communicated through video messages, some of which Ward recorded on his phone. The recorded videos were recovered from Ward’s phone and included video and images of the minor victim nude in the shower.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ward could face 25-50 years for the charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, 10 years to life for traveling with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor, 15-40 years on the child pornography charge and up to 30 years on the traveling for illicit activity charge.

In addition to prison time, prosecutors said Ward could face a potential penalty of up to $250,000 fine.

Former Arkansas teacher accused of sex with student

Ward was previously convicted on multiple charges in 2013 in Michigan, including three counts of possession of child sexual abuse material and one count of accosting a child for an immoral purpose.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin Bryant and Amanda Fields.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KARK.