Four Seattle-area men indicted for seeking to sexually assault children during FBI online sting operation
In each case defendants allegedly communicated with undercover agents about their interest in sexually molesting children or young teens
Seattle (STL.News) A federal grand jury has indicted four Seattle-area men who were arrested and charged following an FBI sting operation focused on adults seeking to sexually assault children, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. The investigation revealed that some of the defendants had molested other children or collected images of child sexual abuse before they were identified by law enforcement.
“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.”
According to records filed in the case, in September and October 2020, defendants allegedly communicated with undercover agents and officers via internet platforms with the intent to sexually abuse children, some as young as 6 years old. When the defendants were arrested, their electronic devices were seized, as well as items which were to be used in the planned sexual assaults.
The defendants indicted in this operation include:
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. This case demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the FBI to protect our most vulnerable citizens: our children.”
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.
The charges contained in the indictments are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The cases are being investigated by the FBI. The operation was conducted in cooperation with the Seattle Police Department, and the Kirkland Police Department. The cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Laura Harmon and Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton. Ms. Harmon is a King County Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to pursue child sexual exploitation cases in federal court.