Soldier pleads not guilty to exploiting teenage girls for nude photos

Tacoma News TribuneSeptember 11, 2012 

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier has been charged with 25 counts alleging he coerced seven teenage girls into sending him nude photographs while he was deployed in Afghanistan.

David Ford, 24, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon on charges including communication with a minor for immoral purposes, possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, second-degree extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor and viewing depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Ford was arrested on base Monday after returning from his deployment. Ford entered a not guilty plea to all 25 counts. His bail was set at $500,000.

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Prosecutors said Ford contacted seven girls and offered them money and other gifts in exchange for nude photos. He allegedly threatened them and warned he would show others the photos if they didn’t keep providing him with pictures.

Investigators began looking at Ford in April when a 15-year-old girl contacted the Washington State Patrol and reported that he found her on Facebook and made sexual comments.

She told detectives Ford offered her concert tickets if she would pose nude for him over Skype, which she did 25-35 times over four months. In return, Ford allegedly sent her $1,000 in gifts, including a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and an iPhone.

Ford met all the girls but one on Facebook and arranged to meet two of them at South Hill Mall, where prosecutors said he took one of them to a friend’s house and tried to have sex with her.

Images of the victims were found on Ford’s computer and one of the victims gave investigators a video of him masturbating, according to court documents. The girl reportedly took the video to try and prevent Ford from threatening to make the nude pictures of her public if she stopped sending them to him.

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