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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 20, 2016

Ferndale Man Arrested for Attempted Enticement of a Minor

Sought Sexual Encounter with someone he believed was a 12-year-old Girl

          A 39- year-old Ferndale, Washington resident was arrested as he approached the U.S./Canadian border this morning as he sought to travel to British Columbia to have sexual contact with a person he believed to be a 12-year-old girl, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  CHRISTOPHER DAVID JOHNSTON was arrested as he attempted to illegally enter Canada.  He made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle today where he is charged by complaint with Attempted Enticement of a Minor.  He will remain in custody pending a detention hearing next week.

          According to the criminal complaint, in early May 2016, JOHNSTON began communicating with a person who responded to a personal ad he had placed on Craigslist.  The ad said JOHNSTON was seeking a “young lady to spoil.”  An undercover agent responded to the ad, indicating that she was not yet 13 years old.  Despite knowing that young age, JOHNSTON engaged in increasingly sexualized emails, texts and chats with the agent, ultimately arranging to meet the ‘child’ in Abbotsford, BC for sex.  He was arrested in the U.S. as he rode his bicycle as he approached the border near Sumas, Washington.  Via text message he told the ‘girl’ that he was planning on crossing the border illegally to meet her in Canada.

          Attempted enticement of a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum ten years to life in prison.

            The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

          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 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.justice.gov/psc .

          The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 20, 2016