DENVER — A Missouri man was arrested last week at Denver International Airport (DIA) after he traveled to Colorado to have sex with two minor children.
This arrest was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Special Agent in Charge Kumar C. Kibble with by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Darwin Gilbert Gowen, 61, of St. Louis, Missouri, made his initial appearance where he was advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. He is due back in court July 2 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix for a detention hearing. The Criminal Complaint was filed June 20. Gowen was arrested by HSI agents at DIA the same day.
The affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint was written by an HSI special agent based in Greeley, Colorado, who was working in an undercover capacity. In her undercover role as a 37-year-old single mother of two minor daughters, ages 15 and 11, she communicated with an individual who expressed an interest in having sex with the mother and both daughters.
During the conversations, which took place primarily via email and text, the defendant stated that he was "a 60 year old male, widowed … wanting to experience the wild side of life." He also said he "adored chubby girls" … and was "looking for naughty daughters … who love to hook up with a kinky mom for mom daughter fun." Further investigation revealed that the individual was Darwin Gilbert Gowen of St. Louis, Missouri.
Gowen told the undercover agent that he was going to fly to Denver to see her and have sex with her and her daughters. HSI agents confirmed that the defendant had arranged to fly to Denver June 19. He was observed by HSI agents leaving the St. Louis Airport. He was then seen at DIA. Gowen met a female HSI agent at the DIA baggage check. After the two discussed that he flew to Denver for the express purpose of having sex with the two minor children, he was arrested.
"Individuals who travel to have sex with minors are dangerous, as there is always the chance that they communicate with a vulnerable woman with children as opposed to an undercover agent," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "Thanks to the work of HSI, another person who was planning to sexually exploit innocent children now faces criminal charges."
"Crimes against children are some of the most loathsome our agency investigates," said Special Agent in Charge Kumar Kibble of HSI Denver. "These criminal charges serve as warning to other child predators. We will find you, arrest you and make sure that you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
If convicted of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, the defendant faces not more than 30 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine. If convicted of attempted coercion and enticement, Gowen faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine per count for each of the two counts charged.
This case was investigated by HSI. The Denver Police Department assisted with the arrest at DIA.
Gowen is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak, the coordinator of the Project Safe Childhood initiative for the District of Colorado.
A criminal complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony crime has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury.
The charges contained in the Criminal Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. 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.
HSI is a founding member and current chair 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.