Soldier charged in sexual exploitation of teen girls
September 11, 2012 · 2:19 PM
Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged David M. Ford, 24, with 25 counts, including Possession of Depictions of a Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct in the First and Second Degree, Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes, Viewing Depictions of a Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct in the First and Second Degree, Extortion in the Second Degree, and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. The defendant contacted seven girls under the age of 18 and persuaded several of them into providing nude photos and videos of themselves. He offered money and gifts in exchange for the victims’ cooperation and later threatened to distribute the photos if they did not continue to cooperate.
“These charges are the result of our successful collaboration with the Washington state Patrol Missing and Exploited Children Task Force,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Our Special Assault Unit vigorously prosecutes sexual crimes against minors.”
On April 24, 2012, a 15-year-old girl contacted the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children Task Force and reported that the defendant contacted her on Facebook and made sexual comments. The victim spoke a 16-year-old friend, who said that the defendant had contacted her on Facebook also. She told investigators that the defendant offered her concert tickets if she would Skype and pose naked for him. Over a period of about four months, they Skyped 25 to 35 times and she posed nude. The defendant sent the victim gifts valued at more than $1,000, including a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and an iPhone.
As the investigation continued, investigators learned that the defendant victimized five other girls, all under the age of 18. The defendant met all but one of the victims on Facebook. The conversations started out casual but quickly turned sexual. The defendant offered the victims money, alcohol, or other gifts in exchange for providing nude photos and videos of themselves. The defendant continuously threatened to send the images to the victims’ family members, friends, and the general public if the victims didn’t cooperate.
The defendant contacted and later met with two girls at South Hill Mall. He took one of the girls to a friend’s house and tried to initiate sexual activity. The victim called a friend to pick her up and left the residence, leaving behind a bag of personal items in the defendant’s car. When she contacted the defendant, he told her he’d return the bag if she sent him naked photos of herself. Eventually her father obtained the bag from the defendant.
One of the victims provided a video of the defendant masturbating that she had recorded on her cell phone. She told investigators she wanted to have something to prevent him from continuing to demand nude images and video of her. Images of the some of the victims were also found during forensic examination of the defendant’s computer.
The defendant is an active duty soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was arrested on base yesterday after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 270 in the County City Building in Tacoma. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.