Four Seattle-area men accused of seeking to sexually assault children as young as six online were indicted by a federal grand jury Friday.
The men were arrested and charged following a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sting operation focused on adults seeking to assault children sexually, U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced in a Department of Justice press release. (RELATED: Twitter Sued For Allegedly Profiting From Spread Of Video Showing Sex Trafficked 13-Year-Old Boy)
The defendants allegedly interacted online with undercover agents and officers, expressing the intent of sexually abusing children, some as young as six years old, according to records filed in the case Sep. and Oct. 2020.
When law enforcement apprehended the four men, they also seized their electronic devices and items that they would have used in the planned sexual assaults. The four men stand accused of attempting to entice a minor.
The punishment for attempted enticement of a minor extends from a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison up to life imprisonment.
One of them stands accused of possessing child pornography, punishable up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Eric Hogan, 33, from Seattle, one of the defendants, had allegedly communicated with an undercover agent about sexually assaulting their fictitious six and 12-year-old daughters.
Justice Galloway, 26, from Everett, Washington, had allegedly interacted with an undercover agent about sexually assaulting their fictitious six and 11-year-old daughters.
Christopher Sinfield, 28, from Woodinville, Washington, had allegedly communicated with an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl in his attempt to entice her, not knowing it’s an FBI agent on the other side of the screen. Sinfield possessed images of child sex abuse on an electronic device during the time of his arrest. In addition to being accused of enticing a minor, he is charged with child porn possession.
The FBI is investigating these cases; the agency conducted the operation in cooperation with the Seattle Police Department and the Kirkland Police Department.
“During this time of social distancing, we are relying on the Internet more than ever,” Donald M. Voiret, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Office, said. “Although electronic resources are so pervasive in our daily lives, we must remain ever vigilant and remember how powerful and far-reaching they can be, both for good and for harm. This case demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the FBI to protect our most vulnerable citizens: our children.”