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Press Release

Sex Offender Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Online Enticement and Child Pornography Offenses

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

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Thursday, June 29, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon sentenced David James McHarg, 58, of Beaverton, Ore. to 15 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted online enticement of a minor, and one count of receiving child pornography.

This case began when the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received information that McHarg, a previously convicted sex offender, was engaging in inappropriate online communications with adolescent boys. A Washington County Sheriff’s detective received permission to assume the online identity of one of the boys. McHarg engaged in a number of sexually explicit chats with the detective, who he believed was a 15-year-old boy. During the chats, McHarg suggested that the boy travel to Portland during his spring break, and talked about various sexual acts they would engage in together. McHarg was arrested when he traveled to the Portland International Airport to meet what he thought was the boy’s incoming flight.

A search of McHarg’s Facebook account revealed that he had also been communicating online with a 16-year-old boy in Colorado. At McHarg’s request, the boy sent sexually explicit images and videos of himself to McHarg. In addition, investigators learned that in 2006, McHarg took a 17-year-old boy to Jamaica, where they engaged in various sex acts together.

At the sentencing hearing, McHarg apologized profusely and expressed remorse for his conduct. He said, "I don’t want to be this person. This is not who I want to be." He expressed a desire to take advantage of treatment and counseling programs while in prison.

In imposing the sentence, Judge Simon described McHarg as a "good and decent person" who, for reasons that may be beyond his control, caused harm to young persons. Judge Simon was concerned that McHarg might continue to harm children if allowed to remain free and imposed the sentence in part to protect the public.

After completing his prison term, McHarg will be on supervised release for the remainder of his life. He will be subject to strict supervision conditions, including requirements that he participate in mental health and sex offender treatment programs, and limitations to his possession and use of computers, and access to the Internet. McHarg may petition the court to

modify or end his term of supervised release after he has completed at least five years of supervision.

Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, praised the sentence imposed on McHarg. "Judge Simon recognized the serious and repetitive nature of Mr. McHarg’s conduct – particularly since Mr. McHarg had already been convicted once of a sex offense against a minor – and imposed an appropriate sentence," Williams said. "After serving a lengthy term of imprisonment, Mr. McHarg will be under close supervision for the rest of his life. Hopefully, that will help ensure that he never again attempts to exploit or abuse a child," Williams added.

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 U.S. Department of Justice and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case was investigated by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman, Assistant United States Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the District of Oregon.

Updated July 5, 2017

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Project Safe Childhood
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