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Woodinville Water Commissioner admits to charges of child pornography, sharing child rape photos

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A current Woodinville, Washington Water District Commissioner, who is also a general contractor, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  DALE KNAPINSKI, 67, was indicted in November 2019.  KNAPINSKI is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on April 20, 2021.

According to records filed in the case, in April and May 2019, the FBI, through the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), began an investigation of an IP address in Woodinville, Washington.  An electronic device at the IP address was using a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download images of child rape and abuse. On July 9, 2019, agents executed a court authorized search warrant at the address and seized a laptop computer belonging to KNAPINSKI.  A subsequent forensic evaluation revealed approximately 280 images of child rape and abuse.

Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of the guidelines range determined by the court at sentencing.  KNAPINSKI is required to register as a sex offender.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

The case was investigated by the FBI as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William Dreher.


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