HONOLULU – A former military police officer stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was sentenced in federal court today to 15 years in prison for producing child pornography and for online exploitation and “sextortion” of a minor female.
As part of his sentence, Christopher Ernest Fox, 21, was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the victim and her family, serve 10 years of supervised release and register as a sex offender.
The case is the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Wiltshire (United Kingdom) Police Department.
According to court documents, Fox began corresponding with a 12-year-old female in the United Kingdom through social media – including Instagram and Snapchat – in August 2016.
Fox began to solicit sexually explicit photographs from the girl, knowing she was a minor. After obtaining her nude photographs, Fox asked for more.
Fox used the photographs he initially received from the girl to blackmail her into sending additional explicit photographs, and threatened to distribute the initial photographs to her friends and family if she did not comply with his demands. When his victim refused to continue sending Fox her photographs, he created a fictitious social media account under her name, and used that account to distribute the sexually explicit photographs to her friends and classmates.
As a result of Fox’s crime, the minor victim was bullied, harassed, and threatened with further extortion by random strangers online. At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright remarked upon the “harm and terror this [crime] would cause somebody.” He went on to call Fox’s actions “a lifechanging, traumatic experience,” and noted, “saying his actions were wrong is a grave understatement.”
“This office is committed to holding those who sexually exploit our young people accountable for their crimes, said Kenji M. Price, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, “which have a devastating impact on victims, their families, and the community at large. We will continue to aggressively prosecute, and seek significant sentences for defendants who prey on our young people.”
This case was pursued as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 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 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
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 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.