ST. LOUIS – A registered sex offender who has already served time behind bars is going back to prison after being convicted on new child exploitation crimes.

A federal judge sentenced Nicholas Ray, 33, to 15 years imprisonment on Monday. Ray pleaded guilty in Oct. 2021 to charges of attempting to persuade or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity and distribution of child pornography.

According to the plea agreement, Ray contacted an undercover police detective on a dating app in March 2020. After exchanging several messages, Ray expressed an interest in having sex with children as young as eight years of age. Ray also said he was into child pornography and had recently received illicit material from others in online chatrooms.

Between March 2020 and April 2020, Ray had several more interactions with the undercover detective and talked about getting together to have sex with a minor. On April 28, Ray used a separate online app to send the detective a link containing several thousand videos of child porn.

The undercover detective and Ray agreed to meet at a Brentwood hotel over the summer in order to facilitate a sexual encounter with a child. Ray was arrested on June 10, 2020, after arriving at that hotel.

In 2014, Ray was convicted of possession of child pornography in St. Charles County Circuit Court and sentenced to three years in prison.