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Suspect is an NCO at Andrews AFB

By KATIE FITZPATRICK

Staff writer

A 44-year-old Lusby man was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on six counts of sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography.

William S. Gazafi was indicted Sept. 11 for allegedly coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing and distributing child pornography between April 3, 2012, and April 19 of this year.

Gazafi faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison followed by up to lifetime of supervised release, according to a United State’s Attorney’s Office Department of Justice press release. Gafazi was arrested on the criminal complaint on Sept. 3 and remains detained. He is expected to have his initial appearance on the indictment in federal court in Greenbelt early next week.

The investigation began after Gazafi, a non-commissioned U.S. Air Force officer working at Andrews Air Force Base, engaged in an online chat with an undercover FBI task force officer on a website dedicated to incest discussions “known by law enforcement to advocate sexual acts with children,” according to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. On Aug. 15, 2011, the undercover officer and Gazafi engaged in a brief online chat and the conversation was then moved to instant messenger to facilitate the uploading of image files, the complaint states. Gazafi sent five images to the undercover officer, all of which police determined to be commercial images and not self produced.

The undercover officer did not have further contact with Gazafi until August 2012 and then not again until between April and August 2013.

During that time, Gazafi allegedly sent several images of girls ages 8 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years and 7 years old to the undercover officer, according to the complaint, which he claimed he created. In one online conversation, Gazafi allegedly admitted to giving one of the girls the drug Ambien before abusing her.

The FBI identified Gazafi and he was arrested carrying multiple digital media items, officials said. A forensic examination of those items revealed videos and images that Gazafi produced of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These images and videos included one child as young as 5 months old, the press release states, and the images also depict children bound and handcuffed while sleeping.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Brigadier General Kevin J. Jacobsen, Commander Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the 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.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.

KATIE FITZPATRICK