Chinese national who studied at UNO sentenced in federal court for child enticement

He is scheduled for sentencing on a related charge in Douglas County in August.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A 30-year-old man from China was sentenced Friday in federal court for coercion and enticement of a minor.

U.S. District Court Judge John M. Gerrard handed down a 17.5-year sentence to Zhijun Xia, a Chinese National who will be deported back to his home country after serving his sentence but will remain on supervised release for five years and have to register as a sex offender. He was also ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution.

The federal court system does not offer parole.

Xia was a 27-year-old graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha when he was hired as a Chinese-language tutor for the 15-year-old victim in June 2018.

“Xia met the victim in person for the tutoring sessions and began communicating with the victim over the social media application WeChat,” according to the release from Acting U.S. Attorney’s Jan Sharps’s office.

Xia began inquiring via chat about the teen’s sexual history, discussing various forms of birth control and eventually reserving a room for them at a Lincoln hotel. The two met at the hotel and had sex, the release states.

Xia also pled guilty to first-degree sexual assault in Douglas County, where he is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 25. Omaha Police arrested Xia in June 2020.

“The family of Zhijun Xia’s victim trusted him as an academic and tutor. He used that trust to prey on a teenage girl,” FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said. “His sentence today serves as an example of FBI Omaha’s unwavering commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute anyone who victimizes children.”

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide effort to combat the sexual exploitation of children. In addition to the FBI, the Omaha, Lincoln, and UNO police departments were also involved in the investigation.

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