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Child Exploitation
07/18/2014

Seattle sex offender sentenced to 15 years for distribution of child pornography

SEATTLE — A 30-year-old convicted sex offender was sentenced to 15 years in prison and lifetime supervision for distribution of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Seattle Police Department as part of the Seattle Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).

Joseph Edgar Brown, of Seattle, pleaded guilty to the charge in May. Prosecutors say it was a tip from Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that led investigators to look into email accounts used to distribute child pornography, including images of adults raping infants. Seattle detectives and HSI special agents eventually tied those accounts to Brown.

"We now know Brown's penchant for trading images of brutal sexual abuse of toddlers and infants was just the tip of the iceberg," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "Through our investigation we discovered online chats between Brown and other child predators discussing his plans to molest his soon to be born child. Fortunately, the cycle of abuse will end here due to the efforts of the investigators and prosecutors who brought this man to justice."

According to records filed in the case, Brown opened email accounts in the name of a former roommate and between March and July 2013, used the accounts to distribute child pornography to more than 50 people. Brown obtained additional images of infants and toddlers being raped and sexually assaulted from dozens of other people. A forensic review of Brown's electronic devices revealed he had chatted online with others about raping and molesting his unborn daughter once the child was born.

Investigators arrested Brown about three weeks before the birth of his child. At the time of his arrest, he was under court ordered supervision for prior sex convictions for molesting two young girls. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones called Brown a danger to the community saying to Brown "the court needs to protect young children from you."

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI's Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.