A 24-year-old Bothell man pleaded guilty Sept. 17 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two federal charges related to his sexual molestation of a 14-year-old child, announced U.S. attorney Annette L. Hayes.
Thomas Mahoney faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District judge John C. Coughenour on Dec. 18, according to a Department of Justice press release. Mahoney was arrested in October 2017. He pleaded guilty on Monday to travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor and enticement of a minor.
According to records filed in the case, Facebook notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about sexual conversations and photos being exchanged between an adult and child over its network. The information was provided to law enforcement in California where the young victim was located, and to the Seattle Internet Crimes against Children task force (ICAC), which traced the Internet address to Mahoney.
Law enforcement served a court-authorized search warrant on Mahoney’s residence and obtained his electronic devices for analysis, the release states. Travel records confirm information from the victim that Mahoney traveled to California three times in 2016 and 2017 to have sex with the victim.
The victim was about 13 years old when Mahoney “friended” them on Facebook and was 14 years old when Mahoney initiated sex. Mahoney made videos of the sexual contact, thereby producing child pornography, the release states.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, both the prosecution and defense will recommend a 10-year prison term. The recommendation does not bind Coughenour. The maximum penalty is life in prison. Mahoney will be required to register as a sex offender.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in coordination with the Seattle Police Department and ICAC. The Contra Costa County California District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department are key partners in the investigation, the release states.
The case is being prosecuted by special assistant U.S. attorney Cecelia Gregson, with assistance from assistant U.S. attorney Christina McCall of the Northern District of California. Gregson is a senior King County Deputy prosecutor specially designated to prosecute child exploitation crimes in federal court.