Spokane, Washington – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Jonathan Paul Holden, age 44, of Mead, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on October 11, 2018, to one count of Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor, and three counts of Attempted or Actual Child Pornography Production. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., sentenced Holden to a 20-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 20-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, on February 6, 2018, the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (“ICAC”) Task Force was conducting an online sting operation in which a law enforcement officer was working in an undercover capacity, purporting to be a 13-year old girl. Holden communicated online with the undercover officer in a sexually-explicit manner, believing that he was communicating with a child. During the online communications, Holden arranged to meet the purported girl later that day in Richland, Washington, for oral sex. When Holden arrived at the meet location, he was immediately arrested and taken into custody. A forensic examination of Holden’s digital devices and electronic media accounts revealed that Holden had been engaging in the solicitation of children for sex and child pornography for many years and all around the country. ICAC officers contacted Holden’s victims, and learned that the three principal victims with whom he had engaged in overt and explicit sexual communications and efforts to obtain child pornography were 13, 15, and 17 years old. These victims lived in Atlanta, Georgia, Houston, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Another victim who came forward during the investigation notified law enforcement that Holden had sexually abused her when she was 13 years old.
Holden’s federal case is a component of a global resolution negotiated in conjunction and consultation with the Spokane and Benton County Prosecutor’s Offices. Those offices have filed additional State charges against Holden for other criminal acts.
Joseph H. Harrington said, “Parents, please speak with your children about the dangers of chatting online so we can keep all our children safe. This case demonstrates the importance of undercover online enticement sting operations by law enforcement and their effectiveness in apprehending child predators; these operations lead to the apprehension of hands-on contact offenders. I commend the outstanding and dedicated work of federal, state and local law enforcement. The sentence imposed sends a strong message to would-be child predators and pornographers that federal, state and local law enforcement will work together to hold you accountable and bring you to justice. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to prosecute aggressively anyone who commits these horrible crimes against children.”
“Predators who chat online and view pornographic images of children fuel the disturbing actions of likeminded criminals who create the illegal content. Both rob the innocence of their victims and leave permanent scars that can never be entirely healed,” said Brad Bench Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle. “This case should send a clear message to those trolling the Internet to victimize children – you will be caught and pay with your freedom for such crimes. HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate these predators and ensure that they feel the full weight of the law.”
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. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
· Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
· Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
· Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
· Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
· Community awareness and educational programs.
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 Southeast Regional ICAC Task Force, the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Washington ICAC task force with assistance from the Seattle Police Department. Essential support was provided by ICAC affiliates with the Cobb County Police Department Special Victims Unit in Cobb County, Georgia, and the Tomball Police Department, in Tomball, Texas, as well as Homeland Security Investigations in Las Vegas, Nevada. The case was prosecuted by David Herzog, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.