Camano Island man sentenced for paying people to sexually abuse children

SEATTLE — A 69-year-old Camano Island man was sentenced in federal court Thursday to nine years in prison for paying people in the Philippines to sexually abuse children and sending him images and videos of that abuse.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday Joseph Grubbs pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography in June.

“The depravity of this defendant’s conduct is beyond words,” U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said.  “He took advantage of poverty in a country half a world away to facilitate the sexual abuse of children.  The result was the perpetuation of a vicious cycle of abuse and victimization that harmed the most vulnerable among us.”

The attorney's office says Grubbs paid to watch live webcasts of minors performing sex acts with other minors and adults.

Court records say Grubbs came to the attention of law enforcement when Yahoo notified the FBI that it was investigating users of its email and messaging service who were sexually exploiting children in the Philippines.

The FBI served a search warrant on Grubbs' home and arrested him in July 2016.

Grubbs had traveled frequently to the Philippines and told investigators he lived there in a second home six months of the year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.