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Child Exploitation

Washingtonian charged in ICE probe for having sex with minors in Cambodia

SEATTLE - A 59-year-old Washington man is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court here Monday to face charges stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into allegations he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with underage girls in Cambodia.

Craig Thomas Carr, of Kent, Wash., was accompanied by ICE agents on May 7 as he boarded a plane in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the return flight to the United States. The charges against Carr are detailed in a five-count criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

According to affidavit in the case, the investigation into Carr's activities began in December 2009 when the Cambodian National Police (CNP), acting on information from the French National Police (FNP), learned that a taxi driver in Phnom Penh, identified as S.M., had advertised on the Internet that he could procure minors for the purpose of child prostitution. Carr responded to one of S.M.'s advertisements in November 2009 and they subsequently exchanged approximately 20 e-mail messages.

In the e-mails, Carr and S.M. discussed Carr's desire to have sex with juvenile females around 12 years of age. S.M. told Carr that he could arrange for the age and appearance of girls Carr described.

Court documents describe how Carr traveled to Cambodia via San Francisco International Airport and Taipei, Taiwan, on January 13. The next day, S.M. met Carr at his hotel and transported him to a local guest house where he met an adult female who appeared to be managing the brothel.

ICE's investigation revealed that, for the next seven days, Carr had sex multiple times with three different female juveniles. All fees were pre-negotiated prior to his departure from the United States.

According to the affidavit, Carr told ICE agents that he paid S.M. $3,000 when he arrived in Cambodia and had made two additional payments of $3,000 and $1,800 to the adult female who operated the brothel. Carr also admitted to paying each young girl $20 for allowing him to take sexually explicit photographs of them.

The CNP arrested Carr on January 22. He remained in the custody of Cambodian authorities until he was removed from that country and escorted back to the United States by ICE. S.M. was also arrested by the CNP in January and he remains in Cambodia.

"Pedophiles who believe they can escape the detection of law enforcement and travel overseas to commit heinous crimes against children should take note," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations. "ICE and its law enforcement partners around the globe will pursue those who subject children to this type of crime and bring them to justice."

The probe into Carr's activities was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations in Seattle, ICE's Office of International Affairs that oversees the agency's Attaché Office in Bangkok, the CNP Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection offices and the FNP.

Carr is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington under the PROTECT Act. The PROTECT Act, which went into effect seven years ago, substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States by adding new crimes and increasing the penalties for these charges.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing 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. ICE encourages the public to reporter suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.