MARTINSBURG, W.Va. , BALTIMORE, MD – A man from Florida and two women, one from Martinsburg West Virginia and the other from Hagerstown, Maryland, have appeared in federal court on sexual exploitation of minors charges.

US Attorney Willaim Ihlenfeld  says Destiny Rebecca Somersall, age 41 of Martinsburg, was sentenced Monday to 40 years in federal prison for sex trafficking of a child.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Somersall befriended a Florida man,

76-year-old John W. Balch, who requested photos and videos of a minor in exchange for money and

gifts. Somersall sent sexual photographs and videos of the minor. One of the videos included a

second victim. Somersall  later agreed to drive the teen to a hotel in Maryland for sexual contact

with Balch for money on multiple occasions. Investigators found at least 60 cash transactions

between Balch and Somersall over a period of two years totaling $13,725.

Ihlenfeld tells Metronews  between  2017  and 2022, Balch exploited six minors between the ages of three and 15.

“He was paying their mothers to produce images and videos of the victims engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” Ihlenfeld says.

“He also paid Ms. Somersall to transport a 15-year-old minor to a hotel room so that he could engage in sex acts with her,” according to Ihlenfeld.

“We very quickly had  Ms. Somersall charged.  She was convicted and sentenced yesterday to 40 years in prison.

Balch was indicted in the District of Maryland.

Of Balch, Ihlenfeld says, “He has spent enormous amounts of money in Florida, Maryland, and elsewhere to obtain access to children.

Balch, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty  to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and admitted to the sexual exploitation of six minor victims, including prepubescent minors.  Last week, co-defendant Jane Ellen Campbell, age 35, of Hagerstown, Maryland pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography, related to one of the victims.

Guilty pleas were announced October 25th by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron.

The exploitation also included paying the victims’ mothers to perform sex acts on their prepubescent children, record the abuse, and send the files to Balch.

According to Campbell’s plea agreement, Campbell and Balch met in approximately 2007.  In recent years, Campbell drove various women to have commercial sex with Balch in hotels when Balch traveled to Maryland from his home in Florida.  In 2017, Balch asked Campbell multiple times to produce naked images of Minor Victim 1, who was nine years old at the time.  Campbell admitted that she sent Balch sexually explicit images of Minor Victim 1 on three occasions between January and March of 2017.  Beginning in 2021, Balch initiated conversations directly with Minor Victim 1.  According to Campbell’s plea agreement, Balch paid Campbell $3,245, between November 23, 2020, and August 5, 2022.

As detailed in their plea agreements, upon their release from prison the defendants will be required to register as sex offenders in the places where they reside, where they are employees, and where they are students, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”).

Balch faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years for each count of sexual exploitation of a child   Campbell faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for distributing visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Balch on January 26, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. and for Campbell on January 23, 2024, at 11:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the HSI, the Hagerstown Police Department, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation.  U.S. Attorney Barron also recognized the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of West Virginia and the Middle District of Florida, and the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office for their assistance in the Balch case.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce King, who are prosecuting the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit and

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May

2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation

and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

For more information on human trafficking, go to To report a

potential human trafficking crime, email [email protected] or call 304-234-0100.