Christian Hogle sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges

Warning: The following story contains explicit details about sexual violence.

Christian Hogle, 55, formerly of Eastsound, has been sentenced to 60 months in prison with credit for time served and 10 years supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Hogle has no previous criminal record.

Ricardo S. Martinez, Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, imposed the sentence. According to sentencing documents, Hogle will serve his time in either the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc or the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, both of which are in California. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which brought the charges against Hogle, recommended 60 months’ imprisonment, the statutory minimum, followed by 15 years of supervision.

“Child sexual exploitation is a scourge,” according to the sentencing memorandum from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “The harm it causes is difficult to overstate, and those who participate in the trade of child exploitation imagery play an integral role in a continuous cycle of child victimization. Hogle’s participation in this vile trade was not passing. Worse yet, he boasted to others about his own exploits involving children. And while he denies the veracity of those boasts, it is hardly a positive to know that the most comforting thing that can be said of Hogle is that he only bragged about abusing children.”

Prior to the sentencing, Judge Martinez received letters in support of Hogle from his lawyer, therapist, family members and Orcas Island residents, all of whom wrote of Hogle’s dedication to his recovery and those of others.

“Mr. Hogle has worked incredibly hard in his therapy and has been collaborative and completely engaged in his treatment,” wrote Hogle’s attorney Emily Beschen. “… He looks forward to his future which will include continuing his treatment while incarcerated and once released from prison. Mr. Hogle continues to be very active in Sex Addicts Anonymous and works closely with his sponsor.”

Hogle wrote his own letter, explaining his life-long use of alcohol, drugs, pornography and secrecy to mask the pain of his childhood and confusion about his sexuality. He also acknowledged the hurt he caused his victims, his family and his community.

“This is not just a mistake. And these are not just pictures and videos. These are kids we have hurt every time we looked. They are abused, emotionally crushed and I who thought he was a good person has done this to them. I am so sorry to these boys. I wish I could undo the pain and suffering they go through,” Hogle wrote. “… How do I change? I start with honesty. I look at myself and admit the hard truths I have buried. I work the 12 steps in my programs. Accepting my faults and learning a new way to live my life using tools I never had. Changing the way I live with humility and willingness to ask for help. I also now see that I am not alone. There are others that have the same pain and fear in their lives and with each other, we can overcome.”

Background on the case

Hogle was charged in August 2018 and originally pleaded not guilty. He changed his plea to guilty on Dec. 20, 2019. By pleading guilty, Hogle waived his right to a trial and admitted to knowingly receiving, distributing and possessing visual sexual depictions of minors who had not attained 12 years of age.

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.

Distributing and possessing child pornography each carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and a period of supervision following release from prison.

On Sept. 26, 2018, an indictment against Hogle was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Seattle court ordered that his release conditions would include wearing an ankle monitor and not residing on Orcas Island. Hogle was confined to his house until March 2019 at which time he was released. He continued to wear an ankle monitor and meet supervision requirements.

According to the plea agreement, Hogle admits to participating in an internet chat group devoted to child pornography and sexual abuse in September 2017. His iPhone and cloud-sharing application had more than 2,000 images and videos. Per the plea agreement, “Hogle sent images and videos of actual minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to other group members over the Internet. … Among these were numerous visual depictions of infants, toddlers … and prepubescent minors.”

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, “Group members exchanged child sexual abuse imagery and discussed sexually abusing children. For his part, Hogle shared child exploitation material with the group and claimed to have sexually abused one of his male relatives.”

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