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Spokane Man Sentenced To 12 Years for Child Exploitation

SPOKANE – Senior United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Bobby Charles Owens, 46, of Spokane, Washington, to 12 years in federal prison for persuading a minor girl to produce sexual images of herself and then meeting her in person for the purpose of engaging in sex with her.  Judge Peterson also ordered Owens to serve the remainder of his life on federal supervision after he is released from prison.  Owens pleaded guilty earlier this year.

According to court documents and proceedings, Owens used Facebook to solicit the minor girl to engage in sexual misconduct with him.  Knowing that the girl was between 14 and 18, Owens met her in person for the purpose of having sex with her, after requesting that she take and send him sexual images of herself.  Owens was charged with child sex trafficking and child pornography crimes.

Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, praised the victim’s bravery and commended the FBI’s sensitive and victim-centered approach to its investigation.  “Children must be safe from sexual predators, whether they are online or in person,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref.  “FBI and the Spokane Police Department, along with victim specialists and forensic examiners all took care to put the minor’s needs at the forefront of their investigation.  Protecting children from harm, especially sexual exploitation online and IRL (in real life), is critical to building a safe and strong Eastern Washington community.” 

“It is difficult to think of an act more despicable than victimizing a child,” said Richard Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Seattle Field Office.  “I especially appreciate the professionalism of the investigators who worked on this case.  I hope today’s sentence provides some comfort to a young person who endured a situation no one should ever have to face.”

Project Safe Childhood Coordinator David M. Herzog added, “Above all, I commend the victim on having the strength to come forward and shine a light on Mr. Owens’ misconduct.  Today this strong, brave young woman can turn the page on this chapter in her life and look forward to a bright future.”

This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States 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 individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the FBI, with significant assistance from the Spokane Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.