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May 7, 2021Phoenix, AZ, United StatesChild Exploitation

2 Phoenix men face lengthy sentences for child exploitation convictions

Two local men face lengthy prison sentences following their convictions in unrelated child exploitation cases investigated by special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and deputies from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO).

“The outcome of these investigations should serve as a sobering warning to those who brazenly engage in the perverse behavior involving child exploitation,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI, partnering with local law enforcement, will continue to work tirelessly to identify these dangerous offenders and bring them to justice. Our efforts are vital to protecting young people from these predators.”

Thomas Bowden, 41, was sentenced March 8, to 19 years in prison followed by lifetime probation; upon his release he will also be required to register as a sex offender. He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of child exploitation on March 8.

According to investigators, between November 2020 and December 2020, HSI and PCSO conducted the online investigations stemming from files obtained via investigative techniques that contained child sexual abuse material. On Dec. 3, 2020, HSI special agents and PCSO deputies executed a residential search warrant in Superior, Arizona. Bowden was subsequently arrested for accessing, downloading, and disseminating child pornography from his electronic devices.

In a second unrelated investigation, Grant Jay Martin, 62, pleaded guilty to two counts of child exploitation. On March 5, Martin agreed to serve a prison sentence of 13 years followed by a lifetime on probation. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

The charges against Martin are the result of lead called in to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) Cyber Tipline. On Dec. 9, 2020, HSI and PCSO executed a residential search warrant and through a thorough investigation, agents and deputies discovered in excess of 200 files containing child exploitation imagery on his digital devices. Martin was immediately arrested for child exploitation.

“Investigators who work on these cases do God's work, and we need more of them. This is another reminder that parents need to know what their children are doing online. If it has a chat feature, predators may be exploiting it,” Pinal County Sheriff, Mark Lamb.

The State of Arizona, Pinal County Superior Court prosecuted both cases.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST or online. For internet safety informational and training materials for all ages, please visit NetSmartz and iGuardians.

HSI is a founding member 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.

HSI is a directorate and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.