SPOKANE, Wash. – A man who raped his daughter and posted videos of the abuse online before fleeing to China pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday and could face the rest of his life in prison.
Kenneth John Freeman, 46, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and interstate transportation of a minor for the purpose of unlawful sexual activity.
The deal with federal prosecutors calls for a sentence of 50 years in prison, plus three years of probation, when Freeman is sentenced March 25. Freeman had faced up to life in prison.
Freeman said little in court except to answer questions from U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko about whether he understood his actions.
Asked if his plea was voluntary, Freeman said: "It is, your honor."
Freeman was scheduled to plead guilty to state court charges later Wednesday. He is accused of three counts of child rape in south-central Washington's Benton County, and has agreed to a sentence of 20 years to run concurrently with the federal prison time. He will serve his time in federal prison.
Freeman, a computer adviser, bodybuilder and former reserve sheriff's deputy in Benton County, fled the U.S. in 2006 and lived in China. He was on the most-wanted lists of the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement until his arrest in May 2007 in Hong Kong.
The abuse occurred in 2000, when the girl was 10. His daughter, now 19, first told her mother about the abuse in November 2005.
In federal court Wednesday, Freeman pleaded guilty to producing child pornography in Washington, and to producing child pornography and having unlawful sexual activity with a minor in Oregon. The Oregon charges stem from incidents where Freeman took his daughter to the Portland area. Several other charges were dropped.
Prosecutors said Freeman videotaped the abuse of his daughter and distributed hundreds of images around the world via the Internet.
Freeman had been living in Seattle when he fled to Hong Kong in March 2006. He later lived for a year in the interior of China before his arrest in May 2007 as he re-entered Hong Kong. He agreed to be extradited to the United States.
Before his extradition, Freeman issued a news statement indicating he had written an autobiography while in custody. Authorities seized the 400-page document, which contained confessions to much of the criminal conduct for which he was charged, court documents said.