Port Angeles man already serving time faces child pornography charges

Shawn Michael Dawson has change of plea hearing March 12

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man serving 26 months in Clallam Bay Corrections Center on child sex charges faces additional sentencing in a child pornography case connected to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation in North Carolina.

A March 12 change of plea hearing on the new charges was set Friday in Clallam County Superior Court for Shawn Michael Dawson, 48.

The former bartender is incarcerated on a June 2018 sentence for communication with a minor for immoral purposes via electronic means and for third-degree child rape that occurred between September and December 2016, when the victim, a teenage boy, was 14, according to court documents.

On Nov. 27, Dawson was charged with one count of dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and three counts of possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The charges stem from a case related to a Homeland Security investigation dating to June 2017, according to the probable cause statement.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office was notified in June by Special Agent Klarisa Zaffark of the Homeland Securities Investigations unit in Henderson, N.C., that Dawson was a suspect in a child pornography case, according to the statement, written by sheriff’s Detective Amy Bundy.

Zaffark said law enforcement in Asheville, N.C., was notified about Dawson after a caregiver saw what appeared to be child pornography on a computer in the home of an Asheville resident.

Asheville police said they discovered child pornography on the man’s computer and explicit emails between the man and Dawson dating to February 2016.

Some of the images were parts of named series investigated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Las Vegas Police Department and the FBI and included known victims, according to the probable cause statement.

A “significant number of files” were discovered, according to the probable cause statement.

Dawson first contacted the man after reading a serial novel the man wrote and posted to a website containing erotic stories “involving alternative sexualities,” according to a report by an Asheville detective.

Dawson, interviewed in October by Bundy, denied knowledge of the novel and said he had “no idea about this,” according to the probable cause statement.

Dawson faces an additional maximum 10 years on the charge of dealing in child pornography and up to 25 years on the three possession of child pornography charges, of which two are first degree and one is second degree.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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