Brandon Charles Saffeels, 38, a former Maui Police Department officer, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and a 15-year term of supervised release following that prison term for attempted child enticement.
The sentence was handed down by US District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.
Saffeels pleaded guilty in April to attempting to engage in sexual contact with someone who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, according to the US Department of Justice.
In addition to his sentence, Saffeels must also register as a sex offender, as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
According to court documents and information presented to the court, on Dec. 3, 2021, Saffeels 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 undercover officer responded “Plz dont judge but im 13,” according to Justice Department reports.
Saffeels offered to take the undercover officer shopping and repeatedly offered to give her
money, according to a Justice Department press release. At one point, the undercover officer asked him what she needed to do for the money and Saffeels responded, “Sex,” according to the report.
On Dec. 4, 2021, Saffeels contacted the undercover officer and requested that they meet for sex at a designated location, the Justice Department recounted. Shortly after midnight the following day, Saffeels arrived at the agreed-upon meeting location where he was arrested by law enforcement.
When he was arrested on Maui on Dec. 5, 2021, Saffeels was due to self-surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 7, 2022, to begin service of a 30-month sentence Judge Kobayashi imposed for a federal public corruption offense. That offense involved an incident where Saffeels arrested a woman for suspecting driving under the influence of an intoxicant, and then began communicating with her, offering to provide perjured testimony to help her beat the case, if she would come to his house, authorities said.
At today’s sentencing, Judge Kobayashi ordered that Saffeels serve the two sentences concurrently, or at the same time.
“In seeking to sexually exploit a child while on release pending self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a separate criminal charge, Saffeels – a former law enforcement officer – engaged in reprehensible conduct that will not be tolerated,” said US Attorney Clare E. Connors. “The substantial term of imprisonment and the length of supervised release after incarceration is fully justified in this case.”
“The FBI remains committed to ensure the public’s safety even after someone is found guilty and awaiting sentencing. This former law enforcement officer committed another crime in attempting to entice a minor and was caught,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “The FBI will not stop in protecting Hawaiʻi’s keiki and we thank the Maui Police Department and our other federal law enforcement partners as we work together on cases like this. We join the public in holding law enforcement officers to a higher standard.”
“Homeland Security Investigations will not tolerate the exploitation of keiki by people in a position of trust,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Tobon. “We are pleased his sentence is consistent with the heinous nature of the crime.”
This case is the result of a multi-agency operation known as “Keiki Shield,” 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.