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Child Exploitation
12/10/2010

Washingtonian sentenced under PROTECT Act

Defendant traveled to Cambodia in January intent on having sex with underage girls

SEATTLE - A Washington state man who traveled to Cambodia to have sex with young girls was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Craig Thomas Carr, 59, of Kent, Wash., pleaded guilty in July to sexual exploitation of a child. In his plea agreement, he admitted that prior to his January trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he made e-mail contact with a taxi driver there. The driver agreed to identify young females for Carr to have sex with during Carr's trip to Cambodia. Carr expressed an interest in girls about 12-years-old and sent sexually explicit photographs of girls this age to the cab driver to show the approximate age of the girls he was seeking.

Prior to his departure for Cambodia, Carr made plans to take naked photos of the young girls, requesting the address of a FedEx store in Phnom Penh. He planned to send the explicit photos directly to his home while he was still in Cambodia.

Carr traveled to Phnom Penh from Seattle on January 13. During the next eight days, he admits that he had sex with three young Cambodian females.

On January 22, he was arrested by the Cambodian National Police. He remained in the custody of Cambodian authorities until he was removed from that country and escorted back to the United States by HSI agents on May 7.

"This prison sentence is appropriate punishment for the defendant who thought he could travel overseas, sexually abuse young children, rob them of their innocence without consequence and evade detection by U.S. law enforcement authorities," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in the Pacific Northwest. "HSI aggressively investigates this type of case by using our unique enforcement authorities under the PROTECT Act, which allow us to work closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to ensure that child predators pay the price for their heinous behavior."

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones told Carr, "You prey on the most vulnerable of victims…very young girls. What you were doing, satisfying your fantasy one night, leads to a lifetime of nightmares for them."

In addition to his prison sentence and a lifetime of supervised release, Carr will be required to register as a sex offender. In addition, Judge Jones ordered him to pay a fine of $11,000, which was the same amount of money Carr spent on his trip to Cambodia, and to pay $8,000 in restitution to his young victims in Cambodia.

Carr was 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.