JACKSONVILLE, Fl. (CW69 News at 10)
United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces (announced) the return by a grand jury of an indictment charging Edward Alan Hardin (33, Pomona Park) with two counts of sex trafficking children and four counts of using a cellular phone to entice children to engage in unlawful sex acts. Hardin faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison, for each count, followed by a term of 5 years, and up to a lifetime, of supervised release. The indictment also notifies Hardin that the United States intends to forfeit assets used in the offense.
According to the indictment, beginning by at least some date in 2016, Hardin began soliciting a child victim to engage in commercial sex acts, knowing that the victim was less than 18 years old. In 2020, Hardin allegedly used a cellular telephone to entice the victim to engage in unlawful sexual activity, including unlawful sexual activity with a minor and custodial sexual battery, in violation of Florida statutes, and attempted production of child pornography in violation of federal law.
The indictment further alleges that, at least from July 21, 2018, and through a date in March 2020, Hardin used a cellular telephone to entice a second child victim to engage in unlawful sexual activity, including unlawful sexual activity with a minor, in violation of Florida statutes; statutory rape, in violation of Georgia Code; and production of child pornography, in violation of federal law.
It is further alleged that on a date in late 2017, or early 2018, Hardin engaged in sex trafficking of a third child, and caused that victim to engage in a commercial sex act.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.