Attorney General Andy Beshear says a Kansas man who attempted to purchase a Kentucky child online for $500 and drugs earlier this year was sentenced to five years and designated a lifetime sex offender.
Ernest Merle John Anziana, 49, of Fredonia, Kansas, was sentenced Oct. 19 in Franklin Circuit Court to five counts of unlawful use of electronic means originating or received within the Commonwealth of Kentucky to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities, all Class D felonies; and one count of promoting human trafficking, a Class C felony.
After release from prison, Anziana is required to register as a lifetime sex offender and must complete an approved sex offender treatment program. He will be under post-incarceration supervision as a sex offender.
The investigation began early in 2018 when Beshear’s Cyber Crimes Unit obtained information that Anziana was attempting to solicit sex from an underage child in Kentucky and offered to purchase the child for $500 and 7 grams of methamphetamine.
Following the unit’s lead, the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office out of Kansas traced the information back to Anziana.
Anziana was also charged with solicitation to commit human trafficking in Greenwood County, which is located in the southeast portion of Kansas nearly 700 miles from Frankfort.
Anziana was indicted in Franklin Circuit Court Feb. 6, 2018, and was served with the indictment warrant in Kansas Feb. 7, 2018. He was extradited to Kentucky and his bond was set at $500,000.
“The details involved in this case are disturbing, yet our office encounters human trafficking cases in every county, city and community across Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Human trafficking represents the worst form of abuse, most often in children, like we have in this case. Every part of my office is committed to investigating and prosecuting predators seeking to harm our children and families. I want to thank our cyber investigators, the team at the Greenwood County Sheriff’s office, and the Franklin Commonwealth’s Attorney for prosecuting the case.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Zachary Becker prosecuted the case.
Beshear created the Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention when he entered office. The office, along with the Department of Criminal Investigations, has 15 open human trafficking cases, and over the course of 2018 the offices have been involved in 31 arrests or citations involving the crime.
Upon taking office in 2016, Beshear teamed up with Catholic Charities of Louisville to secure a three-year, $1.5 million federal grant to help train law enforcement, increase victim services and hire the state’s first full-time human trafficking investigator.
In February, the office secured a 20-year sentence against former Campbell County District Judge Timothy Nolan on numerous felony charges, including human trafficking of adults and minors.
Last month, Beshear joined Rep. Dennis Keene, of Wilder, to announce legislation that would grant the Office of the Attorney General the ability to investigate crimes, like human trafficking, that can occur across multiple jurisdictions.
If a human trafficking victim is in immediate danger dial 911 or report suspected human trafficking of a child to 877-KYSAFE1. Victims of human trafficking may call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.