Child abuse sentence handed down in federal court

‘Pattern of exploitation’ seen

TACOMA — An Arlington man who had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl in Olympic National Park in 2016 has been sentenced in federal district court to three years in prison and 15 years of supervised release.

James Christopher Overton, 36, pleaded guilty in January to sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced Friday.

He began communicating with the girl when she was 13 and he was 33, according to the federal complaint filed May 24.

Overton engaged in “a pattern of exploitation,” U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton said at Overton’s sentencing hearing.

“This is a serious offense that affects real people.”

At first, Overton and the girl messaged on the Kik mobile app, then they joined the same chat group before talking by phone and texting each other.

She threatened to report him to the police and stopped talking with him before he re-initiated contact and she acquiesced, according to the complaint.

According to the girl, they frequently talked about sex, the complaint said.

“[The girl] also reported that they talked frequently of her thoughts of suicide,” according to the complaint.

“At one point, it seemed to [the girl] that Overton was encouraging her to kill herself, but then stopped because he wanted to meet up and have sex.”

They also sent each other nude photos of themselves, according to the plea agreement.

After two years, they met for the first time in November 2016 at a Port Angeles convenience store.

After the girl got in his car, he drove to Deer Park Road in Olympic National Park, where they had sexual contact.

A special agent with the National Park Service Investigative Branch received information in June 2107 from detectives with the Port Angeles Police Department about the encounter between the girl and Overton in Olympic National Park.

The agent interviewed the girl in April 2018.

The special agent and another special agent interviewed Overton April 11, 2018 at his residence.

Sitting at an outdoor table in his driveway, he recounted his communications with the girl that had begun in 2016 and said he contacted her after seeing her photo and profile on Kik, according to the complaint.

He told the agents he knew she was in school, acknowledged asking her for nude photos of herself and admitted to the sexual encounter and confirmed its location.

When they met, he believed she was 15 and thought she could have been 14.

“Overton also told us that he had been talking with other girls as young as thirteen online,” according to the complaint.

“He confirmed that these conversations included discussions about sex.

“However, he claimed he stopped doing so two weeks ago.

“Overton explained his preferred age range is girls between thirteen and fifteen because girls that age look up to him and he can be a ‘dad figure.’”

The child pornography charge relates to Overton possessing depictions of minors younger than 12 years old engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to the June 21, 2018, indictment.

A search warrant was executed on Overton’s residence May 24, 2018.

His desktop computer and two smartphones contained at least 112 images and one video depicting child pornography.

Most of the files were recovered after Overton had deleted them, according to the plea agreement.

In the plea agreement, he admitted to communicating with other minors between 12-15 over the internet, engaging in communications of a sexual nature and asking for sexually explicit images and videos.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at