United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that on September 2, 2020, Nathan Lee Kempter of Highlands Ranch, Colorado was found guilty following a jury trial before Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard of enticement of a minor and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Kempter will be sentenced on December 11, 2020, and faces up to life in prison on the two counts.
In August of 2019, the Lincoln Police Department was contacted regarding the missing status of a 14-year-old female who had left a Lincoln, Nebraska residence through the back door and was no longer in the area. The reporting party indicated that the minor female had been overheard talking to someone on the phone. After a quick initial search of the neighborhood, the police were contacted. Reports to investigators indicated that the victim girl was observed getting into a smaller, red, four door SUV and leaving the area. Lincoln Police reviewed the victim’s phone for additional information and identified a Colorado telephone number that the victim had called. LPD was able to identify the number as belonging to Nathan Kempter who resided in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Kempter was also the registered owner of a red 2015 Nissan Versa. With assistance from the cellular phone company, LPD was able to track the movement of Kempter’s cellphone and determined it was located just across the Nebraska/Colorado border on Interstate 76. Lincoln Police contacted law enforcement authorities in Colorado.
On August 02, 2019 at 11:54 p.m., Douglas County, Colorado Sheriff’s deputies saw the red Nissan Versa driving toward Kempter’s residence in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Deputies stopped the vehicle in front of the residence and Kempter was arrested. At that time, Kempter informed the deputies that the young girl in his vehicle was 14 years old.
Later, the victim stated she met Kempter on the Reddit website, in a chat room for teen runaways. Her screen name indicated she was a 14-year-old female. After communicating with Kempter on Reddit, they moved their conversation to Tumblr, another social media platform, and exchanged message between July 23, 2019 and August 2, 2019. They exchanged e-mails. During these conversations, Kempter indicated he wanted to have sex with the minor victim and would bring her to Colorado to live with him.
The victim said that Kempter picked her up at her residence and began to drive west on Interstate 80. She was told to lay down in the front seat and cover herself so that she would not be seen. She said at some point while they were still in Nebraska, Kempter stopped at a Walmart so that he could buy her new clothes. Evidence obtained in a search of Kempter’s vehicle revealed the purchase of boy’s pants and shirt, and a blanket. The victim was told what to say and do if they were contacted by anyone in an attempt to avoid detection.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by the Lincoln Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.