Attempted coercion conviction lands Tennessee man in prison
OMAHA, Neb. -- A Tennessee man will serve 14 years in prison for trying to coerce and entice a minor in Council Bluffs.
U.S. Attorney Steven Russell said 58-year-old Edward Hays, of Tennessee, was sentenced in federal court in Omaha on May 15. He was convicted of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. Hays will serve 168 months in prison with a 10-year term of supervised release after. There is no parole in the federal system.
According to court documents, Hays used his phone and the Kik app to talk to an undercover law enforcement officer located in the District of Nebraska on June 23, 2021. Hays asked about the undercover officer’s alleged minor son.
Officials said Hays used his phone from June 23, 2021, to Oct. 13, 2021, to try to persuade, induce, and entice the undercover officer to introduce his minor son to Hays to eventually engage in sexual activity. During the phone communications, Hays worked as a truck driver throughout the U.S.
Authorities said Hays offered to meet and “teach” the undercover officer’s minor son about sexual activity. Hays explained to the undercover officer how to groom the minor son for eventual sexual experiences with Hays.
According to court documents, Hays sent the undercover officer a message asking, “Still interested in things?” on Oct. 7, 2021. Hays told the undercover officer that he was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was ready to meet on Oct. 13, 2021.
Officials said the undercover officer came to a truck stop in Council Bluffs where he met with Hays later that evening. Hays suggested that the undercover officer bring his minor son to meet with Hays the following night. Hays was then arrested and taken into custody.
This case was investigated by the Omaha FBI's Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.