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Child Exploitation

Seattle-area man sentenced for possessing child pornography

SEATTLE — A man who worked for a company that provided training services to the Microsoft Corporation was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison on child pornography charges, following an investigation by federal agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gordon D. Gazaway, 53, of Bellevue, Wash., was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2010. Three months later, he pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of child pornography.

According to publicly available court documents, Gazaway first came to the attention of law enforcement in August 2005 when a local police department determined that child pornography had been downloaded from his residence. Local authorities attempted to make contact with Gazaway at that time, but were unsuccessful.

In February 2009, Gazaway again came to the attention of law enforcement when he responded to a post on Craigslist by an individual who described himself as a "young" 18-year-old seeking a sexual encounter with an older man. During the online conversation, Gazaway expressed interest in "younger guys" and asked if the 18-year-old had any younger brothers.

A few months prior to responding to the Craigslist post, HSI agents learned that Gazaway had paid for access to a commercial child pornography website. From this website, he accessed two images of child pornography including one picture that showed two men raping a young boy and another that pictured two young males molesting a young girl. The victims in both photos were between 7 and 9 years old.

In August 2009, HSI agents executed a search warrant at Gazaway's residence. More than 1,700 images and videos of child pornography were recovered from his digital devices including photos taken by Gazaway that showed a young boy sleeping in his underwear and a young girl posing in a bikini swimsuit.

"While it is heartbreaking to discover images of innocent children being sexually exploited, it strengthens the resolve of law enforcement to investigate child pornography crimes," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in Seattle. "I applaud the diligence and commitment of the HSI agents who investigated this case and brought the defendant to justice. We will continue to dedicate our resources and track down those individuals who are involved in the underworld of child pornography."

Upon his release from prison, Gazaway will be subject to 15 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $23,000 in restitution to an identified child victim whose image was recovered by HSI agents on Gazaway's computer.

HSI was joined in this investigation by the Seattle Internet Crimes Against Children task force. U.S. District Court Judge Marsha J. Pechman presided over Gazaway's sentencing.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide 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 report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.