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Missourian sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping runaway teen

ST. LOUIS – A man from Mexico, Missouri was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison for repeatedly raping a 13-year-old runaway on a trip to Las Vegas.

Jacob D. Burney, now 24, became involved in a relationship with the 13-year-old victim in 2021. Sometime before Dec. 8, 2021, the victim ran away from home to be with Burney.

The teen was reported missing, and Homeland Security Investigations received a National Hotline Tip on Dec. 14, 2021 about her.

Burney switched vehicles and left Missouri to prevent law enforcement officers from finding her. During the trip to Las Vegas, Burney provided drugs and alcohol to the teen and committed the crime of statutory rape repeatedly.

Burney pleaded guilty in January in front of U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey to a charge of transportation of a minor to engage in a criminal sex act.

“Only by joining together will we successfully eradicate child exploitation from our neighborhoods, therefore HSI is asking the community to pay attention to the signs of these abuses and ultimately report them,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Taekuk Cho for Homeland Security Investigations Kansas City.

The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at both have resources on how to protect children.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Missouri State Technical Assistance Team.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins is prosecuting the case.

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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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

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