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Former Maui police officer pleads guilty to attempted child enticement charge

Brandon Saffeels.

Former Maui police officer, Brandon Charles Saffeels, 37, pleaded guilty today in the US District Court to attempted child enticement.

US District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi took Saffeels’ guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for Sept. 7, 2022.

According to court documents and information presented to the court, on Dec. 3, 2021, Saffeels allegedly contacted the online profile of what appeared to be a young female. The profile, however, was controlled by an undercover law enforcement officer.

Eventually during the conversation, Saffeels asked the undercover officer, “How old are u?” and the officer responded “Plz dont judge but im 13.”

Later in the conversation, the undercover officer asked Saffeels, “U okay wit my age?” According to court documents detailed by the US District Court, Saffeels replied, “Age is just a number.”

According to a court press release, Saffeels offered to take the UC shopping and repeatedly offered to give her money. At one point, the UC asked him what she needed to do for the money and Saffeels responded, “Sex,” according to the release.

Saffeels also repeatedly implored the undercover officer to send him “sexy” pictures and specifically requested “a sexy nude” picture, the release stated.

For his part, Saffeels sent the undercover officer a picture of himself in which a portion of his genitals was visible, according to the US District Court.

On Dec. 4, 2021, Saffeels contacted the undercover officer and requested that they meet for sex at a designated location, the charges allege. Shortly after midnight the following day, Saffeels arrived at the agreed-upon meeting location where he was arrested by law enforcement.

Saffeels was due to self-surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 7, 2022, to begin service of a 30-month sentence that Judge Kobayashi imposed for a separate federal public corruption offense.

The charge of attempted enticement of a minor provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not less than five years and up to life.

Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Saffeels will also have to register as a sex offender, as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

“This defendant violated the trust of the court, which had allowed him to remain out of custody prior to serving time for his public corruption sentence,” said US Attorney Clare E. Connors in the press release. “Because the defendant’s new crime sought to victimize a child, it requires a minimum term of 10 years. Our office remains firmly committed to prosecuting crimes that target our children.”

“The FBI takes crimes against children seriously and even more so when it involves a former law enforcement officer whom the public holds to a higher standard,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “We thank Maui Police Department and our other federal law enforcement partners for their assistance in protecting Hawaii’s keiki. We also thank the public for their continued trust and confidence in law enforcement as we investigate these types of cases.”

“Homeland Security Investigations is committed to protecting our keiki from predators like Mr. Saffeels,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Tobon. “What makes matters worse is that he once held a position of public trust.”

This conviction is the result of a multi-agency investigation involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Maui Police Department, and the United States Secret Service. Assistant US Attorney Mohammad Khatib is prosecuting the case.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/04/19/former-maui-police-officer-pleads-guilty-to-attempted-child-enticement-charge/

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