WILLIAM EDGAR HOKE, 38, of Seattle, Washington, was arrested yesterday and charged with possession of child pornography. Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) served search warrants at HOKE's Seattle home and at his worksite, the Seattle Children's Theatre. HOKE was arrested at his home as part of an ongoing investigation into individuals using password protected websites to post and trade child pornography. HOKE is being held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, pending a detention hearing at 3:30 today in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler.
At this time there is no indication that HOKE had unsupervised contact with children at Seattle Children's Theatre.
According to the criminal complaint filed yesterday in Seattle, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) received information in January 2007, regarding individuals in more than 30 countries who were producing, trading and possessing child pornography via the internet. The individuals were using password protected bulletin boards to trade child pornography. In 2008, law enforcement seized the server that housed one of the bulletin boards and linked it to more than 545 registered members. Investigators determined that an email address associated with HOKE had joined the bulletin board in November 2005, and made 260 posts. Following the seizure, a second bulletin board was set up. That server was seized in September 2008. An email address associated with HOKE had posted 60 times between April and September 2008. The posts were traced to internet addresses at both HOKE's home and work. Further investigation revealed that HOKE is employed as the Director of Information Services in the Information Technology Department at Seattle Children's Theatre.
Possession of Child Pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to lifetime supervised release.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Dimke.