News and Press Releases

Defendant Caught in “Operation Emissary” Based in New Jersey

March 21, 2007

PATRICK M. SHAFFER, 35, of Tacoma, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for Possession of Child Pornography. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess sentenced SHAFFER to 97 months in prison and ten years of supervised release. SHAFFER was identified as part of the “Operation Emissary” investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into people trading child pornography on line. Prior to his arrest and detention in August 2006, SHAFFER was a Registered Nurse at a Tacoma physical therapy clinic.

On August 4, 2006, agents executed a search warrant on SHAFFER’s home on North Frace Street in Tacoma, Washington. On SHAFFER’s computer and several DVDs, agents found more than 2,900 images of children engaged in sexually explicit behavior. SHAFFER also had 387 movie files of child pornography. Many of the images and movie files showed children being subjected to violent and sadistic sexual abuse.

“Operation Emissary” was initiated in the New Jersey office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in late 2005. More than 125 people were arrested nationwide. Those charged had subscribed to a hard core child pornography website in late 2005 and early 2006. The arrests were made in 22 states, including Washington.

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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