SEATTLE - Four Puget Sound region residents are facing attempted child sex abuse charges after an online FBI sting.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran's office, the sting happened in September and October 2020, when the four men reportedly communicated with undercover agents on the internet "with the intent to sexually abuse children, some as young as 6 years old."
Investigators said some of the men had molested other children or collected pictures of child sex abuse before their arrests.
"Law enforcement reports increasing concern about online sexual exploitation of children during the pandemic," said U.S. Attorney Moran. "Tragically, we saw this week that in service to the safety and innocence of children, two FBI agents lost their lives in Florida, and three others were wounded. I commend our local agents for their work on this matter, and indeed, all of law enforcement who risk much in pursuit of those who prey on our most vulnerable."
The four men indicted in this operation are:
ERIC HOGAN, 33, Seattle – Attempted enticement of a minor – allegedly communicated with undercover agent about sexually assaulting the agent’s fictitious 6- and 12-year-old daughters.
JUSTICE GALLOWAY, 26, Everett, Washington – Attempted enticement of a minor – allegedly communicated with undercover agent about sexually assaulting the agent’s fictitious 6- and 11-year-old daughters.
CHRISTOPHER SINFIELD, 28, Woodinville, Washington – Attempted enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography – allegedly communicated with undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl and possessed images of child sex abuse on an electronic device at the time of his arrest.
MARCUS WILLIAM LOWE, 33, Kirkland, Washington – Attempted enticement of a minor, possession of child pornography, and assault on a federal officer – allegedly communicated with undercover agent about sex assault of fictitious 10-year-old daughter. Lowe attempted to flee from agents at the arrest location, pinning and injuring an agent between his car and another vehicle. Further investigation revealed possession of images of child sexual abuse and molestation of a child under the age of 12.
"During this time of social distancing, we are relying on the Internet more than ever," said Donald M. Voiret, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Office. "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."
Attempted enticement of a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Assault on a federal officer is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.