(Warning: The following story contains explicit details about sexual violence.)
Eastound resident Christian Hogle, 53, is accused of distributing child pornography.
On Aug. 28, a complaint of one count of distribution of child pornography was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. It is a federal offense. The U.S. Attorney has 30 days from the date of the complaint, which sets out the legal facts that support an indictment, to file the charge.
Hogle was arrested and detained in a federal holding cell in Seattle. His initial appearance in court was on Aug. 28 wherein he was advised of his rights and government counsel requested that he remain in custody. A detention hearing was held on Aug. 30 and both sides agreed that Hogle could be released with the stipulation that he wear an ankle monitor.
“He will not be residing on Orcas Island, and he will be maintaining a residence as directed by pre-trial services,” said Hogle’s attorney, Emily Beschen of Butler Beschen Law in Bellingham.
His next court appearance, a preliminary examination, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, in Seattle. Hogle has no prior criminal history.
Beschen provided a statement regarding the arrest: “Mr. Hogle has suffered from significant medical and neurological issues over the past year and a half.”
Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, reception and possession of an image of child pornography, which is defined as any visual depiction (photographs or videos) of sexually explicit conduct involving someone under 18 years of age. If the offense occurred via the U.S. Postal Service or on the internet, it falls under federal jurisdiction. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a first-time offender convicted of distributing child pornography faces a statutory minimum of five to 20 years in prison.
According to court documents, an agent with Homeland Security began investigating Hogle in June 2017 after the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified “Kik” messenger program users who were sending images and videos of child pornography to each other. The FBI was able to locate the administrator of several Kik groups used to share pornographic materials involving minors. The man, Craig Roffman, is a registered sex offender living in New York, and after executing a search warrant, FBI agents found phones, laptops and external storage devices containing 3,000 files of child pornography in his home.
Agents also recovered Kik messenger logs associated with chat groups that Roffman oversaw. They were able to identify other users, and with a subpoena, tracked down the IP connection logs and email addresses for those individuals, one of whom was identified as Hogle. Via electronic devices owned by Roffman, Hogle’s user name was linked to chat logs and the distribution of downloadable links and multiple pornographic images of boys between the ages of approximately 10 and 13 years old in September 2017.
On July 27, Homeland Security obtained a search warrant for Hogle’s home and person. On July 31, a team of federal and local law enforcement agents executed the warrants and found Hogle at his place of business, a restaurant in Eastsound. According to the agent’s report, upon seeing the officers, Hogle said, “I’m [expletive].”
His cell phone and wallet were confiscated, and an interview was conducted in which he allegedly admitted to both being attracted to children between the ages of 10 and 15 and viewing child pornography on a regular basis. In addition to confirming his use of Kik, Hogle said he had an account with a program called Telegram, which he allegedly said “had a lot of terrible stuff on it,” according to court documents. He provided law enforcement with his log-in credentials for that application. They reportedly found 394 videos and images of child pornography, including a video with an adult male and an infant.
The report reads, “With regards to hands on sexual abuse of minors, Hogle stated that he had chatted with others about acts of sexual abuse involving children, including children in his care, that he had committed. However, he claimed these were merely stories that he told others, not things he had actually done.”
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who may be a victim of or have information about Hogle to call the anonymous tip line at 360-370-7629.