The Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of forcing at least seven underage girls to send nude pictures and videos via the web was charged today in Pierce County Superior Court.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged David M. Ford, 24, with 25 counts, including first- and second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, communication with a minor for immoral purposes, first- and second-degree viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, second-degree extortion and sexual exploitation of a minor.
The defendant - a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier - contacted seven girls under 18 years old 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, according to the prosecutor's office.
“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 Ford contacted her on Facebook and made sexual comments. The victim spoke of a 16-year-old friend, who said that the defendant also had contacted her on Facebook. 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 them on Facebook. The conversations started out casual but quickly turned sexual, according to the prosecutor's office. The defendant offered the victims money, alcohol and 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.
Ford was arrested on base Monday after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today.