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Putnam County man accused of sex trafficking of children

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(istock)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Federal prosecutors said a 33-year-old Pomona Park man tried soliciting at least three children to engage in sex for money, according to an indictment released Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A grand jury charged Edward Alan Hardin with two counts of sex trafficking children and four counts of using a cellular phone to entice children to engage in unlawful sex acts.

According to the indictment, Hardin began soliciting a child victim to engage in commercial sex acts in 2016, 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 sexual battery and attempted production of child pornography.

The indictment further alleges that between July 2018 and March 2020, Hardin used a cellphone to entice a second child victim to engage in unlawful sexual activity, including unlawful sexual activity with a minor; statutory rape in Georgia, and production of child pornography.

It is further alleged that 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.

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.