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Convicted Pedophile Sentenced to Prison

By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email

UPDATE 6/10/13 @ 9:35 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A 34-year-old Michigan pedophile was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for traveling in interstate commerce with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, according to information from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin’s office.

Ashlee C. Liebert, of Whitmore Lake, Mich., previously pleaded guilty in October 2012. Beginning in November 2011 through March 2012, Liebert established a relationship with a 12-year-old minor residing in Putnam County, W.Va. During that five-month period, Liebert communicated with the minor using email and a cell phone. The defendant had numerous conversations with the minor that were sexual in nature and also exchanged sexually explicit photos with the child.

“Pedophiles like Mr. Liebert who target kids and steal their innocence are downright sickening,” Goodwin said in a prepared release. “This kind of crime is infuriating. I will continue to spare no effort to make sure that criminals who exploit children are brought to justice.”

On March 10, 2012, Liebert traveled from Michigan to Putnam County, W.Va. to meet the minor. At the time Liebert traveled from Michigan to Putnam County, he communicated with the minor using his cell phone and told the child that he wanted to have sex.

After arriving in Putnam County, Liebert picked the minor up and drove to a location near Cross Creek Road, in Buffalo, W.Va., and had illegal sexual contact with the minor. Law enforcement officers from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department discovered Liebert and the minor inside his parked vehicle near Cross Creek Road, in Buffalo.

Law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for Liebert’s vehicle.

A Michigan state search warrant was executed on Liebert’s Whitmore Lake residence on March 10, 2012, the same day the defendant was arrested by police in West Virginia. During the execution of the search warrant, officers seized several computers from Liebert’s residence.

A forensic review of Liebert’s computers revealed more than 600 images and videos of child pornography. Liebert previously downloaded the images and videos of child pornography using the Internet.



UPDATE 10/30/12
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Michigan has pleaded guilty to traveling to Putnam County to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 12-year-old girl.

Ashlee Liebert, 33, of Whitmore Lake, Mich., entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Huntington.

Prosecutors say that Liebert admitted that for about five months starting in November 2011, he established a relationship by email and cell phone with a 12-year-old girl living in Putnam County. He further admitted that he exchanged sexually explicit images with the minor.

In March of this year, Liebert traveled from Michigan to Putnam County where he picked up the minor and then drove to a location and engaged in illicit sexual conduct with her.

Deputies with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department discovered Liebert and the minor in his vehicle, which was parked on the side of the road in Buffalo, W.Va.

During a search of Liebert’s residence in Michigan, officers seized several computers. On those computers, investigators say they found more than 600 images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Many of the images and videos have been identified as known children.

Liebert faces up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in February.

U.S. Attorney Goodwin said, “Crimes that involve the exploitation of children are sickening.”

Goodwin continued, “These types of cases are without question a top priority for my office, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the perpetrators of these despicable crimes get dealt with harshly.”



UPDATE 3/14/12 @ 2:30 p.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The case against a man from Michigan facing criminal charges for traveling to Putnam County to meet a 12-year-old girl for sex is moving forward.

Detectives tell WSAZ.com Ashlee Liebert, 33, of Whitmore Lake, Mich., was caught in a car along Cross Creek Road in Buffalo, W.Va. with the young girl early Sunday morning.

"I approached the car, I observed Mr. Liebert was completely naked raising up off what appeared to be a very young girl, who appeared to be 10 or 12 years old, naked from the waste down," Sergeant Alan Savilla with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department said. "All she had on was what appeared to be a child T-shirt like a my little pony T-shirt or something to that effect."

Liebert was arrested and charged with sex abuse by a parent or guardian and third-degree sexual assault.

Liebert was back in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

During the hearing, a detective took the stand and told the magistrate the U.S. Attorney's Office is getting involved in the case. The FBI will take over analyzing the computers that were confiscated from Liebert's home.

Deputies traveled to Michigan on Monday and issued a search warrant at Liebert's home. Deputies say they seized two computers, several disks and some thumb drives to analyze. Investigators say they are looking to see if this material will link Liebert to any other potential victims.

Putnam Deputies worked with the Northfield Township Police Department in Michigan to execute a search warrant on Liebert’s home.

"He (Liebert) stated that she (the victim) told him that she was 12. He thought she was lying, he thought she was role playing...like it was her mother role playing as a twelve year old," Detective Sean Johnson with the Putnam County County Sheriff's Department testified. "He (Liebert) said that even after he had seen her and realized that she was 12 that her maturity level was that of an adult."

The material was brought back to West Virginia for analysis on Tuesday.

The defense scolded investigators for not collecting evidence when Liebert was arrested.

"Any DNA evidence that might have been available in this case, is now completely lost and unavailable, correct?," Liebert's Attorney Duane Rosenlieb said.

A Putnam detective testified that it was too late to collect the DNA, but investigators had enough evidence without it.

"At the time, I didn't feel I needed it because I had his confession, he had stated that it had happened," Detective Johnson said.

"His client confessed, I mean that is the clearest and most truest statement, even without any of the other evidence it meets our burden," Putnam County Prosecutor Steve Connolly said.

During the hearing Wednesday, the magistrate found probable cause to send the case against Liebert to the grand jury.

Liebert's attorney did ask for a bond reduction, but prosecutors argued that Liebert has three felony convictions for drugs that date back to 2002 and that he could be dangerous and a flight risk.

Liebert's attorney claimed that what Liebert did 10 years ago does not have any barring on what's going on now.

The magistrate denied the motion to reduce his bond.

Liebert will be held in the Western Regional Jail in lieu of a $250,000 cash-only bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for more information.



UPDATE 3/13/12 @ 10:55 a.m.
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Putnam Sheriff's Deputies tell WSAZ.com they have collected additional evidence in the case against a man from Michigan who allegedly traveled to Putnam County and met a 12-year-old girl for sex.

Detectives tell WSAZ.com Ashlee Liebert, 33, of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, was caught in a car along Cross Creek Road in Buffalo, W.Va. with the young girl early Sunday morning.

Liebert was arrested and charged with sex abuse by a parent or guardian and third-degree sexual assault.

Deputies traveled to Michigan on Monday and issued a search warrant at Liebert's home. Deputies say they seized two computers, several disks and some thumb drives to analyze. Investigators say they are looking to see if this material will link Liebert to any other potential victims.

Putnam Deputies worked with the Northfield Township Police Department in Michigan to execute a search warrant on Liebert’s home.

The material was brought back to West Virginia for analysis.

According to deputies, Liebert admitted to deputies he began talking with the 12-year-old online. Detectives say the two met while playing the “World of Warcraft” game online and developed a relationship over five months.

Liebert also confessed that he had also met other girls online, according to police. Police are unsure if any other potential victims are from our region.

Liebert told deputies he got upset with the girl late Saturday after he suspected she was having a relationship with another friend.

Deputies say the girl told a friend she had been talking with Liebert and planned to run away with Liebert to Michigan early Sunday morning. That friend told a parent who called police.

Liebert’s being held in the Western Regional Jail in lieu of a $250,000 cash-only bond.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A man from Michigan is behind bars for traveling to Putnam County and meeting a 12-year-old girl for sex, according to Putnam County Sheriff’s Deputies.

Detectives tell WSAZ.com Ashlee Liebert, 33, of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, was caught in a car along Cross Creek Road in Buffalo, W.Va. with the young girl early Sunday morning.

Liebert admitted to deputies he began talking with the 12-year-old online. Detectives say the two met while playing the “World of Warcraft” game online and developed a relationship over five months.

"I'm sure this is not the first time this guy's done this," Sheriff Mark Smith said. "This just sends another message to parents that if your kids are on the Internet, you need to know what they're doing and you need to monitor what they're doing."

Liebert confessed that he had also met other girls online, according to police. Police are unsure if any other potential victims are from our region.

Liebert told deputies he got upset with the girl late Saturday after he suspected she was having a relationship with another friend.

Deputies say the girl told a friend she had been talking with Liebert and planned to run away with Liebert to Michigan early Sunday morning. That friend told a parent who called police.

"Predators tend to prime these kids and stay with them for a while and play the games with them and get more and more personal as they go," Putnam County Schools Psychologist Angie Sullivan said. "So the student or the child becomes more trusting with them."

Detectives say they were gathering information to issue an amber alert when they received a call of a suspicious car.

A deputy discovered the pair not far from the young girl’s friend’s house. They say Liebert was on top of the in the back seat. Liebert admitted to touching the girl inappropriately.

Liebert was arrested and charged with sex abuse by a parent or guardian and third degree sexual assault. He’s being held in the Western Regional Jail on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

Detectives say Liebert told them if he got out of jail, he would still like the 12-year-old to go to Michigan with him since their “love was so strong.”

Police in Michigan are working with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department to execute a search warrant on Liebert’s home.

Detectives say they’re continuing to gather evidence and have already seized Liebert’s computer. They fear there could be several other victims.

Continue to click on WSAZ.com for more information on this developing story.


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