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Press Release

Washington man sentenced to 20 years for sexually enticing, exploiting minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A Washington man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for sexually enticing and exploiting a minor from a rural Alaskan village.

According to court documents, Brian Powell, 41, of Spokane, Washington, enticed and coerced the 12-year-old juvenile victim. Powell, 40, claimed to be “Brian Gaither” and that he was 27 years old.

Powell communicated with the victim through social media, text messages and calls nearly every day for roughly five months. Powell exploited the victim in order to obtain child sexual abuse material.

Powell pleaded guilty to coercing a minor in August 2023. He is required to pay over $35,000 in restitution and serve 15 years’ supervised release as part of his sentence.

When handing down the sentence, the Court cited concern for Powell’s actions in this case and the need to protect the public from future crimes of this nature that the defendant could potentially commit.

"Mr. Powell’s exploitation of this victim in this case is abhorrent but does not define that child’s life,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “Our community is safer today thanks to those who came forward to disclose Mr. Powell’s bad acts and to the hard work done by law enforcement across the state. My office maintains our unwavering commitment to working with law enforcement to vigorously prosecute predators who exploit our children.”

"HSI is dedicated to pursuing justice for children who endure abuse and exploitation online, both locally and globally," said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. "This successful case was the result of seamless collaboration between HSI Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers, HSI Spokane, Spokane Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in both districts. Together, we located and apprehended the target of our investigation, while also providing support to the victims."

“Your Alaska State Troopers will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to hold anyone that victimizes Alaska’s children responsible for their reprehensible actions,” stated Alaska State Troopers Colonel Maurice Hughes. “I hope that this significant prison sentence serves as a deterrent that criminally enticing youth comes with a steep penalty. Know that law enforcement will catch up to you and arrest you.”

The Alaska State Troopers and Homeland Security Investigations Anchorage, Alaska, Office investigated the case. If anyone has information concerning Powell’s actions or may have encountered someone in person or online using the name “Brian Powell,” “Brian Gaither” or “Tyshawn Gaither,” please contact the Homeland Security Investigations tip line at (866) 347-2423.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ainsley McNerney and Adam Alexander prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

UPDATE: This release has been amended with a different tip line phone number. 



Reagan Zimmerman

Public Affairs Officer

Updated February 16, 2024

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 24-11