Former Seattle Resident Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Traveling to have Sex with Teen and Possession of Images of Child Rape
Flew from Seattle to Colorado to Sexually Molest 14-year-old Boy
A 38-year-old Seattle man who traveled to Colorado to groom and sexually molest a teenager he met on the internet was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison and lifetime supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. GREGORY LYLE BRIDGES was residing in Seattle and working as a Senior Program Manager for Amazon.com when he first came to the attention of law enforcement for possession of thousands of images of child sexual abuse. Further investigation revealed that for more than ten years BRIDGES had preyed on teen boys he met via social media. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman said BRIDGES was “leading a double life.” Judge Pechman noted BRIDGES had “no understanding of the depth of harm” he had caused to the minor victim.
“I commend the good work of Homeland Security Investigations and the Seattle Police Department in uncovering the full extent of the criminal conduct in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “They looked beyond the voluminous amounts of child pornography to uncover all the other victims impacted by this defendant.”
According to records filed in the case, BRIDGES came to the attention of law enforcement in December 2013, when Dropbox reported BRIDGES had uploaded images of child sexual abuse to his account. In August 2014 BRIDGES was charged in King County Superior Court with possession of nearly 3,000 images of child pornography and more than 1700 videos of child pornography. As investigators worked on the case, they identified various young men who, over the last ten years, had been approached by BRIDGES over social media. The men had been teenagers at the time BRIDGES had sought them out and sexually abused them. One of the victims was just 14 years old when BRIDGES contacted him and began grooming him for sex. In April 2013, BRIDGES traveled to the boy’s home state of Colorado twice to engage in sexual contact. BRIDGES took advantage of the boy’s difficult childhood and home life, buying him gifts and paying for hotel stays and meals. Despite knowing the boy’s young age and his history of prior sexual abuse, BRIDGES pursued the sexual contact.
“The collaborative efforts between the Seattle Police Department and HSI resulted in a unique investigation spanning four states,” said Steve Cagen, acting special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. “Our nation-wide investigative ability allowed for a successful prosecution. Through interviews conducted by multiple HSI offices, another sexual predator has been brought to justice for violating the innocence of children.”
BRIDGES is required to register as a sex offender following his release from prison. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to some of the victims depicted in his child pornography collection. These victims have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and those who possess or trade these pictures of their sexual abuse are subject to court ordered restitution.
BRIDGES was charged in federal court in May 2015, and pleaded guilty in June 2016 to possession of child pornography and traveling with intent to engage in sexual acts with a minor.
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 Attorney’s 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 was investigated by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force including agents and officers from the Seattle Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Cecelia Gregson and Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London. Ms. Gregson is a Senior King County Deputy Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation cases in federal court.