News and Press Releases

Defendant is Former Employee in Information Technology at Seattle Children’s Theatre

August 25, 2009

WILLIAM EDGAR HOKE, 38, of Seattle, Washington, pleaded guilty today to possession of child pornography. HOKE was arrested in April 2009, as part of an ongoing investigation into individuals using password protected websites to post and trade child pornography. HOKE formerly was employed in the Information Technology Department at Seattle Children’s Theatre. HOKE faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly on December 3, 2009.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Seattle, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) received information in January 2007, regarding individuals in more than 30 countries who were producing, trading and possessing child pornography via the internet. The individuals were using password protected bulletin boards to trade child pornography. In 2008, law enforcement seized the server that housed one of the bulletin boards and linked it to more than 545 registered members. Investigators determined that an email address associated with HOKE had joined the bulletin board in November 2005, and made 260 posts. Following the seizure, a second bulletin board was set up. That server was seized in September 2008. An email address associated with HOKE had posted 60 times between April and September 2008. The posts were traced to internet addresses at both HOKE’s home and work. At the time of his arrest agents seized computer equipment and storage devices. A forensic examination revealed they contained multiple images of child pornography.

The investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) determined that HOKE did not have unsupervised contact with children at Seattle Children’s Theatre.

“This case is a graphic reminder of the important responsibility ICE has to seek out those who use the Internet to sexually exploit innocent children,” said Brad Bench, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the ICE’s Office of Investigations. “ICE will continue to dedicate its resources to identify and investigate individuals who seek to exploit children through the collection and distribution of these illicit materials.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Dimke.

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

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