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Target of online sex offense probe sentenced to 12 years prison

By Joe Beck

WOODSTOCK -- A Woodstock man convicted on a total of 27 counts of sex offenses related to possession of child pornography and attempts to solicit sex with a girl less than 15 was sentenced Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to 12 years and eight months in prison by Judge Dennis L. Hupp.

All but two of the charges against Travis Coverstone, 22, accused him of possessing child pornography. He was also charged with one count each of using a computer to solicit sex with a child and attempted indecent liberties with a child.

Most of the child pornography charges against Coverstone were filed after his arrest during a follow-up investigation when police discovered numerous additional photos they describe as pornographic.

The investigation of Coverstone by Woodstock police involved Investigator Derek Good impersonating a 14-year-old girl as he conducted online communications with Coverstone.

Authorities have said Good contacted Coverstone through an ad that Coverstone had placed on social media sites. The two interacted online several times before Coverstone agreed to a meeting, according to police.

Police said they arrested Coverstone at the designated meeting site, a public location across the street from Massanutten Military Academy.

The case was the first of two filed by Woodstock police in 2012 using online communications to arrest and charge a suspect in a child pornography case.

In an interview after the hearing, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Louis Campola praised Good and Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office Investigator Stuart Leach for their work during the investigation and in obtaining a confession after Coverstone's arrest.

"They took a dangerous predator off the street," Campola said. "It was a matter of time before he got someone."

Coverstone's sentence includes 10 years supervised probation and lifetime unsupervised probation. He was sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison, the majority of which was suspended.

In remarks delivered to Coverstone during the sentencing, Hupp said he was "aghast" at the sexually explicit images of children obtained as evidence against Coverstone.

"I have to believe one of hottest corners of hell is reserved for the people who produce this stuff," Hupp said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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