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Child Exploitation
01/13/2017

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Twice-convicted sex offender receives 15 years on child pornography charges

SEATTLE – A registered sex offender, previously convicted twice for child exploitation violations, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for receiving child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Scott Mitchell Cohen, 52, of Seattle, was arrested Jan. 16 after being identified as the user of an email account that had received images of child pornography. According to court records, the investigation began when Google alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about images of child sexual abuse that had been uploaded via a Google email account. Investigators traced the IP addresses used during the image uploads to the Seattle Public Library and later a University District café Wi-Fi site.

A search warrant executed at Cohen’s University District apartment resulted in the discovery of more than 600 child pornography images and videos on various computers, phones and other electronic devices.

In 2005, Cohen was convicted of molesting a female under the age of 12 and was ordered into extensive sexual deviancy treatment. Following treatment, he was convicted in 2010 of a second sex offense, possession of child pornography. Cohen was on state probation for that offense when arrested in this case. Investigators also uncovered text messages with a Texas teenager who was being propositioned by Cohen to send sexually explicit images.

“Cohen’s repeat sexual offenses make him an extreme danger to our youth,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “The combined efforts of our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force members continue to reveal the deviousness of these predators and hold them accountable for preying on innocent children.”

The case was investigated in collaboration with the Seattle Police Department and was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson who specialized in the prosecution of federal child exploitation cases.

In asking for lifetime supervised release, prosecutors wrote to the court: “The defendant has demonstrated that he poses a threat to the safety and well-being of minors in our communities. Despite negative contact with law enforcement and convictions for sex offenses, the defendant has demonstrated that he is either unwilling or unable to abide by society’s rules concerning sexual contact and interactions with minors. The defendant has demonstrated nearly two decades of unacceptable criminal sexual behaviors towards minors. Anything less than lifetime supervision inadequately protects the community.”

The charges in this case are a product of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.

Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.

Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 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 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/17/2017