Soldier gets 4 years for threatening young girls

Staff writerNovember 9, 2013 

A 26-year-old soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison for coercing and threatening underage girls into sending him sexually explicit photographs of themselves.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh called David Ford “a marked danger to the community” before handing down the sentence.

Ford pleaded guilty in July to one count each of sexual exploitation of a minor and second-degree extortion.

Prosecutors said the cavalry scout contacted seven girls — six of them via Facebook — and offered money or gifts in exchange for nude photos. He threatened to make the photos public should the girls stop communicating with him, court records show.

Authorities began investigating Ford, who served five years in the Army and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, after a 15-year-old girl went to the Washington State Patrol with allegations of his conduct.

Deputy prosecutor Bryce Nelson requested the four-year sentence. Ford’s attorney, Timothy Healy, requested three years, pointing to letters from supporters of Ford that described him as a hardworking, churchgoing young man.

Given a chance to speak, Ford said, “I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Rumbaugh acknowledged the letters supporting Ford but said he had a hard time reconciling them with the soldier’s victimization of teenage girls.

“You have engaged in long-term sexual misconduct that has victimized many,” the judge said. “Whatever your past history may be, your recent conduct certainly poses a marked danger to the community.”

Rumbaugh then rejected Healy’s recommendation and adopted Nelson’s.

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