Bellingham, Washington, man arrested and charged federally for crimes related to sexual abuse of children
A 31-year-old Tacoma man who transported two teen-age runaways from Spokane to Pierce County and advertised them for sex via Backpage.com, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 100 months in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. CLIFTON ESKRIDGE, III, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in July 2014. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said ESKRIDGE caused “great harm to these girls” and ordered ESKRIDGE to serve 15 years of supervised release following prison.
According to records filed in the case, in March 2013, ESKRIDGE transported two teen girls, ages 15 and 16 from Spokane, Washington to Pierce County, and both girls were runaways. ESKRIDGE produced a sexually explicit video and photos of the teen girls in April 2013 using his smartphone and computer. ESKRIDGE also advertised the teens for sex on Backpage.com. ESKRIDGE was arrested and initially charged in Pierce County Superior Court with commercial sex abuse of a minor. ESKRIDGE attempted to discourage the teens from speaking to federal investigators but his efforts were unsuccessful. The investigation resulted in a federal indictment in February 2014. ESKRIDGE has been in federal custody since that time.
ESKRIDGE was ordered to register as a sex offender.
The case was investigated by the South Sound Child Exploitation Task Force which involves agents and officers of the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the Lakewood Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ye-Ting Woo.