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Child Exploitation

Washingtonian pleads guilty to charges under PROTECT Act

Admits he traveled to Cambodia to have sex with underage girls

SEATTLE - A south King County, Wash., man who traveled to Cambodia to have sex with young girls pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Craig Thomas Carr, 59, of Kent, Wash., admitted in his plea agreement that prior to his trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in January 2010, he contacted a taxi driver there via the Internet who agreed to identify young females for Carr to have sex with when he visited. Carr expressed an interest in girls about 12-years-old and sent sexually explicit photographs to the cab driver to show the approximate age of the girls he was seeking.

While still in the United States, Carr made plans to take naked photos of the young girls, requesting the address of a FedEx store in Phnom Penh. He planned to send the explicit photos directly to his home while he was still in Cambodia.

Carr traveled to Phnom Penh from Seattle on January 13. During the next eight days, he admits that he had sex with three young Cambodian females.

On January 22, he was arrested by the Cambodian National Police. He remained in the custody of Cambodian authorities until he was removed from that country and escorted back to the United States by ICE HSI agents on May 7.

"This guilty plea sends a clear message to child predators who falsely believe they can travel to other countries with the intent of sexually exploiting children and avoid detection by U.S. law enforcement," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of HSI in Seattle. "ICE remains committed to dedicating its investigative resources to deter this type of illegal activity in the future."

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Carr faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and he will be placed on lifetime supervised release following his incarceration. He will also be required to register as a sex offender and has agreed to pay restitution to the young victims in Cambodia.

Carr is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington under the PROTECT Act. The PROTECT Act, which went into effect seven years ago, substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States by adding new crimes and increasing the penalties for these charges.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing 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 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.