Docs: Bellingham man federally charged for attempting to sexually assault child

A Bellingham man faces federal charges, accused of attempting to sexually assault a child.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown announced Wednesday that 27-year-old Clayton Harker went before a judge, charged with two federal felonies. Harker was arrested Tuesday after reportedly traveling to a hotel in Bellingham to meet an eight-year-old girl, who the court says he intended to sexually assault.

In reality, the "eight-year-old girl" was an undercover Homeland Security agent Harker was communicating with.

According to court documents, law enforcement learned of Harker while investigating another suspect. The other suspect used Snapchat to pressure young people to send explicit images, saying he would pay them as "models." Investigators found the suspect communicated with Harker, so they extended their investigation to him, as well, in Nov. 2022.

An undercover agent began communicating with Harker, claiming to have an eight-year-old niece Harker could have his way with.

Harker went to the hotel and was arrested outside. Police seized materials he brought, which according to court documents, included video equipment.

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Attempted enticement of a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, up to life. Attempted production of child pornography is punishable by a mandatory 15 years, up to 30.