DENVER - A 68-year-old man from Seattle, Wash., was arrested in Parker, Colo., on Thursday for allegedly traveling to Colorado to sex with children. The arrest was announced by U.S. Attorney David Gaouette, District of Colorado, Parker Police Chief David King, and Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Gary Lee Waffle was arrested at a local restaurant when he traveled to Parker, Colo., after having detailed Internet conversations with an undercover Parker police department detective about his plans to have sex with her fictional 6-year-old daughter.
According to the facts contained in the affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint, on Jan. 28 a Parker police department detective was working in an undercover capacity as a 31-year-old mother of two named "Stacy." She was online in a chat room when she was contacted by Waffle using a screen name alias. Waffle asked what "Stacy" was into, and said he was there to learn what parents can do to play with their kids sexually. After a brief chat in reference to "Stacy's" fictional 6-year-old daughter, "Brie," he said he would be willing to come to Parker to have sex with "Brie." Waffle and the detective continued to have internet conversations over the next four months. Waffle subsequently informed "Stacy" that he was planning on traveling to Denver on July 29 so he could have sex with "Brie." Waffle and "Stacy" agreed to meet at a restaurant in Parker.
On the morning of July 29, Waffle met with "Stacy," who was wired to record their conversation. Waffle discussed how he was excited to meet "Brie," and to have sex with her. Waffle was then arrested.
"This case shows how important it is for law enforcement agencies to work together to identify, arrest and prosecute brazen predators who would travel across state lines to have sex with a small child," said Kibble. "Removing these predators from our streets helps protect the most vulnerable and innocent members of society - our children."
Kibble oversees a four-state area, including Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Waffled was charged by criminal complaint with (1) Traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; (2) Aggravated sexual abuse with children; and (3) Attempted coercion and enticement, following his arrest in Parker. If convicted, Waffle faces not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine, or both in connection with each of the first two charges, and not more than life imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, or both, on the third charge. Waffle will appear in U.S. District Court on Aug. 3 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe for a detention hearing and preliminary hearing.
This case was investigated jointly by ICE and the Parker Police Department. The Parker Police Department is a member of the national ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force, which is funded by a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Parents are reminded to monitor their children's online activity.
The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Smith, as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This investigation was also part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.