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February 4, 2020Phoenix, AZUnited StatesChild Exploitation

Phoenix man sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor

PHOENIX, Ariz. – A local area man was sentenced to 10 years to the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) Jan. 29, for sexual exploitation of a minor following an investigation lead by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The case against Donald Dale Knuckles, 61, of Phoenix, began in November of 2018 when HSI special agents in Phoenix observed a computer that was sharing digital files containing graphic depictions of child sexual exploitation over a peer-to-peer file sharing network. After sending a subpoena to the internet provider, investigators received records that identified the computer as belonging to Knuckles. When agents served a search warrant at Knuckle’s home in February 2019, they observed a sexually explicit video of a child on an electronic device in his room. Knuckles waived his Miranda rights and confessed to downloading sexually explicit content of children.

“The sentence imposed on this despicable individual ensures that he will not have another opportunity to exploit another child through his perverse behavior,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for the HSI Phoenix office. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to target those who believe they can hide behind their computer screens by identifying and holding them accountable for their grotesque actions.”

Knuckles pleaded guilty to two felony counts. In the first count, Knuckles admitted to possessing a sexually explicit video involving a child who was estimated to be less than 15 years old. In the second count, Knuckles admitted to possessing a sexually explicit video involving a child who was estimated to be less than 10 years old. Knuckles will begin a term of lifetime probation upon his release from the ADOC in approximately January of 2030. Knuckles will also be required to register as a sex offender when he is released.

“From undercover operations to working with other law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s Office will continue to do everything we can to protect children from predators,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Anyone who abuses a child or sexually exploits a child, needs to be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson prosecuted the case.

Updated: 02/05/2020