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Kent man charged for reportedly having sex with child prostitutes in Cambodia

A 59-year-old Kent man is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court Monday in Seattle to face charges he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with underage girls in Cambodia.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Craig Thomas Carr, of Kent, was accompanied by ICE agents May 7 as he boarded a plane in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the return flight to the United States, according to an ICE media release. The charges against Carr are detailed in a five-count criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

According to affidavit in the case, the investigation into Carr's activities began in December 2009 when the Cambodian National Police, acting on information from the French National Police, learned that a taxi driver in Phnom Penh, identified by the initials S.M., had advertised on the Internet that he could procure minors for the purpose of child prostitution.

Carr responded to one of S.M.'s advertisements in November 2009 and they subsequently exchanged approximately 20 e-mail messages.

In the e-mails, Carr and S.M. discussed Carr's desire to have sex with girls around 12 years of age. S.M. told Carr that he could arrange for the age and appearance of girls Carr described.

Court documents describe how Carr traveled Jan. 13 to Cambodia via San Francisco International Airport and Taipei, Taiwan. The next day, S.M. met Carr at his hotel and transported him to a local guest house where he met a woman who appeared to be managing the brothel.

ICE's investigation revealed that, for the next seven days, Carr had sex multiple times with three girls. All fees were pre-negotiated prior to his departure from the U.S.

According to the affidavit, Carr told ICE agents that he paid S.M. $3,000 when he arrived in Cambodia and had made two additional payments of $3,000 and $1,800 to the woman who operated the brothel. Carr also admitted to paying each young girl $20 for allowing him to take sexually explicit photographs of them.

The Cambodian National Police arrested Carr on Jan. 22. He remained in the custody of Cambodian authorities until he was removed from that country and escorted back to the U.S. by ICE. S.M. was also arrested by the Cambodian police in January and he remains in Cambodia.

"Pedophiles who believe they can escape the detection of law enforcement and travel overseas to commit heinous crimes against children should take note," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigations. "ICE and its law enforcement partners around the globe will pursue those who subject children to this type of crime and bring them to justice."

The probe into Carr's activities was conducted by ICE's Office of Investigations in Seattle, ICE's Office of International Affairs that oversees the agency's Attaché Office in Bangkok, the Cambodian Police Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection offices and the French National Police.

Carr is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington under the Protect Act. The Protect Act, which went into effect seven years ago, substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the U.S. by adding new crimes and increasing the penalties for these charges.

The investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. The hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

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