Spokane, Washington – Senior United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Brian D. Knight, 47, of Spokane, Washington, to 7 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography, the highest sentence available under the terms of Knight’s plea agreement. Judge Peterson also ordered Knight to serve 10 years on federal supervision after he is released from prison. Knight pleaded guilty late last year.
According to court documents and proceedings, undercover FBI agents downloaded numerous images of child pornography from Knight in 2019 before executing a search warrant at his residence in Spokane. Agents found numerous digital devices containing child pornography that Knight appeared to have downloaded between 2017 and 2019. Knight also sustained a prior conviction for possession of child pornography under Washington law in 2009 after a minor girl disclosed that Knight had sexually abused her. In that case, Knight was sentenced to 14 months in state custody. In addition to having a prior child pornography conviction, Knight had also bookmarked multiple child rape stories, including one called “baby Sex Is the Best.tx.” He also had an “incest/underage sex permission form” on one of his devices. Knight also created – under an alias – a foundation called “Fish4Kids,” which was allegedly designed to give aquariums to autistic children. This purported foundation never actually provided any aquariums, but presumably would have put Knight in contact with autistic children. He also lied to law enforcement about his child pornography conduct, wiped his devices to hide the true volume of his child pornography collection, and had prior convictions for domestic violence assaults, interference with domestic violence reporting, and cyberstalking.
In imposing the highest sentence available under the terms of Knight’s guilty plea, Judge Peterson described his conduct as predatory and rejected defense arguments that he should receive a lower sentence because of certain medical ailments. The Court also expressed concern about Knight’s prior convictions and potential lack of commitment to sex offender treatment opportunities.
Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, commended the FBI’s investigation. “All children should be safe from sexual predators, particularly those who have offended before,” said U.S. Attorney Waldref. “Protecting children from harm, especially online exploitation, remains a priority of my office and is critical to building a safe and strong Eastern Washington community.”
“This is not the first time Mr. Knight has demonstrated disregard for the law and acted on his sexual interest in children,” said Donald M. Voiret, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Seattle Field Office. “The materials our agents recovered from his devices were chilling, and show why it is so important that the FBI continues to relentlessly seek out child pornography defendants.”
This case was pursued 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:
ꞏ Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
ꞏ Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
ꞏ Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
ꞏ Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
ꞏ Community awareness and educational programs.
This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the FBI, and was prosecuted by David M. Herzog, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.