U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Washington
(509) 353-2767
September 9, 2015

Spokane Attorney Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

SPOKANE, WA—Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Kenneth K. Watts, age 66, a bankruptcy attorney in Spokane, Washington, was sentenced on September 4, 2015, after having previously pled guilty on July 2, 2015 to Receipt of Child Pornography. Senior United States District Court Judge Justin L. Quackenbush sentenced Watts to a five year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 10 year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. In addition, Watts was ordered to forfeit to the United States the computer laptop, external hard drive and iPad he used to receive and possess child pornography. Watts was also ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution in lieu of forfeiture of his home. Watts will also be required to register as a sex offender.

According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, on May 21, 2014, an employee at the Albertsons store, located on N. Nevada Street in Spokane, Washington, found an iPad left unattended in a shopping cart. In an attempt to locate the owner the store employee turned on the iPad and observed child pornography. The employee immediately contacted the Spokane Police Department. Watts arrived at the Albertsons store on May 21, 2014, while the Spokane Police were still at the store, and admitted the iPad was his and that it contained child pornography. A forensic examination determined that the iPad contained over 900 images of child pornography. On April 7, 2015, Watts was indicted by the Grand Jury for the Eastern District of Washington and charged with offenses relating to the exploitation of children. On April 9, 2015, Watts was arrested at his residence in Spokane by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Watts confessed that he had child pornography on some of the digital items in his home. A search warrant was obtained for Watts’ computer laptop and external hard drive taken from his home. A forensic examination of these items revealed that Watts was, once again, in possession of child pornography (approximately 2,500 images).

Michael C. Ormsby stated, “The Spokane Police Department and the FBI worked in superb partnership in the investigation this case. The United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Washington is, and will continue to be, committed to prosecuting aggressively and seeking appropriate punishment for child pornography crimes.”

This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:

  • Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
  • Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
  • Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
  • Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
  • Community awareness and educational programs.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”

This investigation was conducted by the Spokane Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by James A. Goeke and Stephanie J. Lister, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

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